ResearchPad - central-nervous-system https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Effect of experimental, morphological and mechanical factors on the murine spinal cord subjected to transverse contusion: A finite element study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8463 Finite element models combined with animal experimental models of spinal cord injury provides the opportunity for investigating the effects of the injury mechanism on the neural tissue deformation and the resulting tissue damage. Thus, we developed a finite element model of the mouse cervical spinal cord in order to investigate the effect of morphological, experimental and mechanical factors on the spinal cord mechanical behavior subjected to transverse contusion. The overall mechanical behavior of the model was validated with experimental data of unilateral cervical contusion in mice. The effects of the spinal cord material properties, diameter and curvature, and of the impactor position and inclination on the strain distribution were investigated in 8 spinal cord anatomical regions of interest for 98 configurations of the model. Pareto analysis revealed that the material properties had a significant effect (p<0.01) for all regions of interest of the spinal cord and was the most influential factor for 7 out of 8 regions. This highlighted the need for comprehensive mechanical characterization of the gray and white matter in order to develop effective models capable of predicting tissue deformation during spinal cord injuries.

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<![CDATA[The effect of age on cerebral blood flow responses during repeated and sustained stand to sit transitions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N46a0a1ad-3e5c-4518-a1d1-64ffcaeedb87 Aging and age‐related cerebrovascular diseases are associated with impaired cerebrovascular function. The novel finding of this study is that older adults showed higher pressure–flow responses during repeated stand–sit transitions compared to younger adults, and that a high pressure–flow response was associated with low cerebrovascular reactivity to CO2. These results suggest that impaired vascular function and increased arterial stiffness may contribute to the pressure–flow responses observed in the older adults.

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<![CDATA[Reference values of physiological 18F-FET uptake: Implications for brain tumor discrimination]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N80bdbd58-ef10-47b0-8bc3-8bde8c3b2b52

Purpose

The aim of this study was to derive reference values of 18F-fluoro-ethyl-L-tyrosine positron emission tomography (18F-FET-PET) uptake in normal brain and head structures to allow for differentiation from tumor tissue.

Materials and methods

We examined the datasets of 70 patients (median age 53 years, range 15–79), whose dynamic 18F-FET-PET was acquired between January 2016 and October 2017. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), target-to-background standardized uptake value ratio (TBR), and time activity curve (TAC) of the 18F-FET-PET were assessed in tumor tissue and in eight normal anatomic structures and compared using the t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test. Correlation analyses were performed using Pearson or Spearman coefficients, and comparisons between several variables with Pearson’s chi-squared tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests as well as the Benjamini-Hochberg correction.

Results

All analyzed structures showed an 18F-FET uptake higher than background (threshold: TBR > 1.5). The venous sinuses and cranial muscles exhibited a TBR of 2.03±0.46 (confidence interval (CI) 1.92–2.14), higher than the uptake of caudate nucleus, pineal gland, putamen, and thalamus (TBR 1.42±0.17, CI 1.38–1.47). SUVmax, TBR, and TAC showed no difference in the analyzed structures between subjects with high-grade gliomas and subjects with low-grade gliomas, except the SUVmax of the pineal gland (t-tests of the pineal gland: SUVmax: p = 0.022; TBR: p = 0.411). No significant differences were found for gender and age.

Conclusion

Normal brain tissue demonstrates increased 18F-FET uptake compared to background tissue. Two distinct clusters have been identified, comprising venous structures and gray matter with a reference uptake of up to SUVmax of 2.99 and 2.33, respectively.

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<![CDATA[Tracking the brain in myotonic dystrophies: A 5-year longitudinal follow-up study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accf4d5eed0c4849903d9

Objectives

The aim of this study was to examine the natural history of brain involvement in adult-onset myotonic dystrophies type 1 and 2 (DM1, DM2).

Methods

We conducted a longitudinal observational study to examine functional and structural cerebral changes in myotonic dystrophies. We enrolled 16 adult-onset DM1 patients, 16 DM2 patients, and 17 controls. At baseline and after 5.5 ± 0.4 years participants underwent neurological, neuropsychological, and 3T-brain MRI examinations using identical study protocols that included voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging. Data were analyzed by (i) group comparisons between patients and controls at baseline and follow-up, and (ii) group comparisons using difference maps (baseline–follow-up in each participant) to focus on disease-related effects over time.

Results

We found minor neuropsychological deficits with mild progression in DM1 more than DM2. Daytime sleepiness was restricted to DM1, whereas fatigue was present in both disease entities and stable over time. Comparing results of cross-sectional neuroimaging analyses at baseline and follow-up revealed an unchanged pattern of pronounced white matter alterations in DM1. There was mild additional gray matter reduction in DM1 at follow-up. In DM2, white matter reduction was of lesser extent, but there were some additional alterations at follow-up. Gray matter seemed unaffected in DM2. Intriguingly, longitudinal analyses using difference maps and comparing them between patients and controls did not reveal any significant differences of cerebral changes over time between patients and controls.

Conclusion

The lack of significant disease-related progression of gray and white matter involvement over a period of five years in our cohort of DM1 and DM2 patients suggests either a rather slowly progressive process or even a stable course of cerebral changes in middle-aged adult-onset patients. Being the first longitudinal neuroimaging trial in DM1 and DM2, this study provides useful additional information regarding the natural history of brain involvement.

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<![CDATA[Microglia exit the CNS in spinal root avulsion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79a3e5d5eed0c4841d1bf2

Microglia are central nervous system (CNS)-resident cells. Their ability to migrate outside of the CNS, however, is not understood. Using time-lapse imaging in an obstetrical brachial plexus injury (OBPI) model, we show that microglia squeeze through the spinal boundary and emigrate to peripheral spinal roots. Although both macrophages and microglia respond, microglia are the debris-clearing cell. Once outside the CNS, microglia re-enter the spinal cord in an altered state. These peripheral nervous system (PNS)-experienced microglia can travel to distal CNS areas from the injury site, including the brain, with debris. This emigration is balanced by two mechanisms—induced emigration via N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) dependence and restriction via contact-dependent cellular repulsion with macrophages. These discoveries open the possibility that microglia can migrate outside of their textbook-defined regions in disease states.

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<![CDATA[Increased 14-3-3β and γ protein isoform expressions in parasitic eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acccdd5eed0c484990014

The 14-3-3 proteins are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of neuronal damage during infectious meningitis and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Little is known about dynamic changes in the individual isoforms in response to parasitic eosinophilic meningitis. The purposes of this study were to determine the 14-3-3 protein isoform patterns, examine the kinetics and correlate the severity of blood brain barrier (BBB) damage with the expressions of these markers in mice with eosinophilic meningitis.

Mice were orally infected with 50 A. cantonensis L3 via an oro-gastric tube and sacrificed every week for 3 consecutive weeks after infection. The Evans blue method and BBB junctional protein expressions were used to measure changes in the BBB. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was used to analyze pathological changes in the mice brains following 1–3 weeks of infection with A. cantonensis. The levels of 14-3-3 protein isoforms in serum/CSF and brain homogenates were analyzed by Western blot, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) was used to explore the different isoform distributions of 14-3-3 proteins and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges. Dexamethasone was injected intraperitoneally from the seventh day post infection (dpi) until the end of the study (21 dpi) to study the changes in BBB junctional proteins. The amounts of Evans blue, tight junction and 14-3-3 protein isoforms in the different groups of mice were compared using the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test.

There were significant increases in 14-3-3 protein isoforms β and γ in the CSF in the second and third weeks after infection compared to the controls and first week of infection, which were correlated with the severity of BBB damage in brain histology, and Evans blue extravasation. Using IHC to assess the distribution of 14-3-3 protein isoforms and changes in BBB junctional proteins in the mice brain meninges, the expressions of isoforms β, γ, ε, and θ and junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the brain meninges increased over a 3-week period after infection compared to the controls and 1 week after infection. The administration of dexamethasone decreased the expressions of BBB junctional proteins occludin and claudin-5 in the mice brain meninges.

Our findings support that 14-3-3 proteins β and γ can potentially be used as a CSF marker of neuronal damage in parasitic eosinophilic meningitis caused by A. cantonensis.

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<![CDATA[High-resolution contrast-enhanced vessel wall imaging in patients with suspected cerebral vasculitis: Prospective comparison of whole-brain 3D T1 SPACE versus 2D T1 black blood MRI at 3 Tesla]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1948d5eed0c484b4d33a

Purpose

Vessel wall imaging (VWI) using T1 dark blood MRI can depict inflammation of intracranial arteries in patients with cerebral vasculitis. Recently, 3D VWI sequences were introduced at 3 Tesla. We aimed to compare 2D and 3D VWI for detection of intracranial vessel wall enhancement (VWE) in patients suspected of cerebral vasculitis.

Methods

44 MRI scans of 39 patients were assessed that included bi-planar 2D T1 and whole-brain 3D T1 SPACE dark blood VWI pre and post contrast. Visibility and VWE were analyzed in 31 pre-specified intracranial artery segments. Additionally, leptomeningeal and parenchymal contrast enhancement was assessed.

Results

Overall, more arterial segments were visualized with 3D VWI (p<0.0001). Detection of VWE showed fair agreement between 2D and 3D VWI (κ = 0.583). On segmental level, more VWE was detected in intradural ICA by 2D VWI (p<0.001) and in VA V4 segment by 3D VWI (p<0.05). 3D VWI showed more leptomeningeal (p<0.05) and parenchymal (p<0.01) contrast enhancement. In patients with positive diagnosis of cerebral vasculitis, sensitivity was of 67% (2D and 3D VWI) and specificity was 44% (2D VWI) and 48% (3D VWI); more VWE was seen in arteries distal to VA and ICA compared to non-vasculitic patients.

Conclusion

2D and 3D VWI differed in the ability to detect VWE. Whole brain coverage with better evaluability of VAs and distal intracranial artery segments, and depiction of more parenchymal and leptomeningeal enhancement make 3D VWI more favorable. As VWE in arteries distal to VA and ICA may be used for discrimination of vasculitic and non-vasculitic patients, future increase in spatial resolution of 3D VWI sequences may be beneficial.

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<![CDATA[Normalization enhances brain network features that predict individual intelligence in children with epilepsy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823aad5eed0c484638dcf

Background and purpose

Architecture of the cerebral network has been shown to associate with IQ in children with epilepsy. However, subject-level prediction on this basis, a crucial step toward harnessing network analyses for the benefit of children with epilepsy, has yet to be achieved. We compared two network normalization strategies in terms of their ability to optimize subject-level inferences on the relationship between brain network architecture and brain function.

Materials and methods

Patients with epilepsy and resting state fMRI were retrospectively identified. Brain network nodes were defined by anatomic parcellation, first in patient space (nodes defined for each patient) and again in template space (same nodes for all patients). Whole-brain weighted graphs were constructed according to pair-wise correlation of BOLD-signal time courses between nodes. The following metrics were then calculated: clustering coefficient, transitivity, modularity, path length, and global efficiency. Metrics computed on graphs in patient space were normalized to the same metric computed on a random network of identical size. A machine learning algorithm was used to predict patient IQ given access to only the network metrics.

Results

Twenty-seven patients (8–18 years) comprised the final study group. All brain networks demonstrated expected small world properties. Accounting for intrinsic population heterogeneity had a significant effect on prediction accuracy. Specifically, transformation of all patients into a common standard space as well as normalization of metrics to those computed on a random network both substantially outperformed the use of non-normalized metrics.

Conclusion

Normalization contributed significantly to accurate subject-level prediction of cognitive function in children with epilepsy. These findings support the potential for quantitative network approaches to contribute clinically meaningful information in children with neurological disorders.

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<![CDATA[Distinctive single-channel properties of α4β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor isoforms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc7cd5eed0c48498f842

Central nervous system nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) are predominantly of the α4β2 subtype. Two isoforms exist, with high or low agonist sensitivity (HS-(α4β2)2β2- and LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR). Both isoforms exhibit similar macroscopic potency and efficacy values at low acetylcholine (ACh) concentrations, mediated by a common pair of high-affinity α4(+)/(-)β2 subunit binding interfaces. However LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR also respond to higher concentrations of ACh, acting at a third α4(+)/(-)α4 subunit interface. To probe isoform functional differences further, HS- and LS-α4β2-nAChR were expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and single-channel responses were assessed using cell-attached patch-clamp. In the presence of a low ACh concentration, both isoforms produce low-bursting function. HS-(α4β2)2β2-nAChR exhibit a single conductance state, whereas LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR display two distinctive conductance states. A higher ACh concentration did not preferentially recruit either conductance state, but did result in increased LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR bursting and reduced closed times. Introduction of an α4(+)/(-)α4-interface loss-of-function α4W182A mutation abolished these changes, confirming this site’s role in mediating LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR responses. Small or large amplitude openings are highly-correlated within individual LS-(α4β2)2α4-nAChR bursts, suggesting that they arise from distinct intermediate states, each of which is stabilized by α4(+)/(-)α4 site ACh binding. These findings are consistent with α4(+)/(-)α4 subunit interface occupation resulting in allosteric potentiation of agonist actions at α4(+)/(-)β2 subunit interfaces, rather than independent induction of high conductance channel openings.

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<![CDATA[Brain expansion promoted by polycomb-mediated anterior enhancement of a neural stem cell proliferation program]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7ee7d4d5eed0c4848f4f0c

During central nervous system (CNS) development, genetic programs establish neural stem cells and drive both stem and daughter cell proliferation. However, the prominent anterior expansion of the CNS implies anterior–posterior (A–P) modulation of these programs. In Drosophila, a set of neural stem cell factors acts along the entire A–P axis to establish neural stem cells. Brain expansion results from enhanced stem and daughter cell proliferation, promoted by a Polycomb Group (PcG)->Homeobox (Hox) homeotic network. But how does PcG->Hox modulate neural-stem-cell–factor activity along the A–P axis? We find that the PcG->Hox network creates an A–P expression gradient of neural stem cell factors, thereby driving a gradient of proliferation. PcG mutants can be rescued by misexpression of the neural stem cell factors or by mutation of one single Hox gene. Hence, brain expansion results from anterior enhancement of core neural-stem-cell–factor expression, mediated by PcG repression of brain Hox expression.

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<![CDATA[Localization of near-infrared labeled antibodies to the central nervous system in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706776d5eed0c4847c7081

Antibodies, including antibodies to the RNA binding protein heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1, have been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, thus it is important to assess their biological activity using animal models of disease. Near-infrared optical imaging of fluorescently labeled antibodies and matrix metalloproteinase activity were measured and quantified in an animal model of multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. We successfully labeled, imaged and quantified the fluorescence signal of antibodies that localized to the central nervous system of mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Fluorescently labeled anti-heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 antibodies persisted in the central nervous system of mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, colocalized with matrix metalloproteinase activity, correlated with clinical disease and shifted rostrally within the spinal cord, consistent with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis being an ascending paralysis. The fluorescent antibody signal also colocalized with matrix metalloproteinase activity in brain. Previous imaging studies in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis analyzed inflammatory markers such as cellular immune responses, dendritic cell activity, blood brain barrier integrity and myelination, but none assessed fluorescently labeled antibodies within the central nervous system. This data suggests a strong association between autoantibody localization and disease. This system can be used to detect other antibodies that might contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system including multiple sclerosis.

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<![CDATA[The Drosophila fussel gene is required for bitter gustatory neuron differentiation acting within an Rpd3 dependent chromatin modifying complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcafd5eed0c484dec036

Members of the Ski/Sno protein family are classified as proto-oncogenes and act as negative regulators of the TGF-ß/BMP-pathways in vertebrates and invertebrates. A newly identified member of this protein family is fussel (fuss), the Drosophila homologue of the human functional Smad suppressing elements (fussel-15 and fussel-18). We and others have shown that Fuss interacts with SMAD4 and that overexpression leads to a strong inhibition of Dpp signaling. However, to be able to characterize the endogenous Fuss function in Drosophila melanogaster, we have generated a number of state of the art tools including anti-Fuss antibodies, specific fuss-Gal4 lines and fuss mutant fly lines via the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Fuss is a predominantly nuclear, postmitotic protein, mainly expressed in interneurons and fuss mutants are fully viable without any obvious developmental phenotype. To identify potential target genes or cells affected in fuss mutants, we conducted targeted DamID experiments in adult flies, which revealed the function of fuss in bitter gustatory neurons. We fully characterized fuss expression in the adult proboscis and by using food choice assays we were able to show that fuss mutants display defects in detecting bitter compounds. This correlated with a reduction of gustatory receptor gene expression (Gr33a, Gr66a, Gr93a) providing a molecular link to the behavioral phenotype. In addition, Fuss interacts with Rpd3, and downregulation of rpd3 in gustatory neurons phenocopies the loss of Fuss expression. Surprisingly, there is no colocalization of Fuss with phosphorylated Mad in the larval central nervous system, excluding a direct involvement of Fuss in Dpp/BMP signaling. Here we provide a first and exciting link of Fuss function in gustatory bitter neurons. Although gustatory receptors have been well characterized, little is known regarding the differentiation and maturation of gustatory neurons. This work therefore reveals Fuss as a pivotal element for the proper differentiation of bitter gustatory neurons acting within a chromatin modifying complex.

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<![CDATA[The effect of endurance training and testosterone supplementation on the expression of blood spinal cord barrier proteins in rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2694d5eed0c484289cf8

The present study aimed to estimate the effect of endurance training, two doses of testosterone, and the combination of these stimuli on the level of the endothelial proteins claudin, occludin, JAM-1, VE-cadherin, ZO-1, ZO-2, and P-glycoprotein in rat spinal cords. Adult male Wistar rats were trained using a motor-driven treadmill for 6 weeks (40–60 min, 5 times per week) and/or were treated for 6 weeks with two doses of testosterone (i.m.; 8 mg/kg or 80 mg/kg body weight). Spinal cords were collected 48 hours after the last training cycle and stored at -80°C. The levels of selected proteins in whole tissue lysates of the spinal cord were measured by western blot. Testosterone-treated trained rats had significantly lower claudin levels than vehicle-treated trained rats. High doses of testosterone resulted in a significant decrease in claudin-5 in untrained rats compared to the control group. Both doses of testosterone significantly reduced occludin levels compared to those in vehicle-treated untrained rats. The JAM-1 level in the spinal cords of both trained and untrained animals receiving testosterone was decreased in a dose-dependent manner. The JAM-1 level in the trained group treated with high doses of testosterone was significantly higher than that in the untrained rats treated with 80 mg/kg of testosterone. VE-cadherin levels were decreased in all groups receiving testosterone regardless of endurance training and were also diminished in the vehicle-treated group compared to the control group. Testosterone treatment did not exert a significant effect on ZO-1 protein levels. Testosterone and/or training had no significant effects on ZO-2 protein levels in the rat spinal cords. Endurance training increased P-glycoprotein levels in the rat spinal cords. The results suggest that an excessive supply of testosterone may adversely impact the expression of endothelial proteins in the central nervous system, which, in turn, may affect the blood-brain barrier function.

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<![CDATA[Resting-state functional MRI demonstrates brain network reorganization in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fedad5eed0c484135723

Background

The relation between brain functional connectivity of patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and the degree of disability remains unclear.

Objective

Compare brain functional connectivity of patients with NMOSD to healthy subjects in resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI).

Methods

We compared the rs-fMRI connectivity in 12 NMOSD patients with 20 healthy subjects matched for age and sex. Graph theory analysis was used to quantify the role of each node using a set of metrics: degree, global efficiency, clustering and modularity. To summarize the abnormal connectivity profile of brain regions in patients compared to healthy subjects, we defined a hub disruption index κ.

Results

Concerning the global organization of networks in NMOSD, a small-world topology was preserved without significant modification concerning all average metrics. However, visual networks and the sensorimotor network showed decreased connectivity with high interindividual variability. The hub disruption index κ was correlated to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).

Conclusion

These results demonstrate a correlation between disability according to the EDSS and neuronal reorganization using the rs-fMRI graph methodology. The conservation of a normal global topological structure despite local modifications in functional connectivity seems to show brain plasticity in response to the disability.

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<![CDATA[Zika virus infection at mid-gestation results in fetal cerebral cortical injury and fetal death in the olive baboon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c4b7f5dd5eed0c4848412b9

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy in humans is associated with an increased incidence of congenital anomalies including microcephaly as well as fetal death and miscarriage and collectively has been referred to as Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). Animal models for ZIKV infection in pregnancy have been developed including mice and non-human primates (NHPs). In macaques, fetal CZS outcomes from maternal ZIKV infection range from none to significant. In the present study we develop the olive baboon (Papio anubis), as a model for vertical transfer of ZIKV during pregnancy. Four mid-gestation, timed-pregnant baboons were inoculated with the French Polynesian ZIKV isolate (104 ffu). This study specifically focused on the acute phase of vertical transfer. Dams were terminated at 7 days post infection (dpi; n = 1), 14 dpi (n = 2) and 21 dpi (n = 1). All dams exhibited mild to moderate rash and conjunctivitis. Viremia peaked at 5–7 dpi with only one of three dams remaining mildly viremic at 14 dpi. An anti-ZIKV IgM response was observed by 14 dpi in all three dams studied to this stage, and two dams developed a neutralizing IgG response by either 14 dpi or 21 dpi, the latter included transfer of the IgG to the fetus (cord blood). A systemic inflammatory response (increased IL2, IL6, IL7, IL15, IL16) was observed in three of four dams. Vertical transfer of ZIKV to the placenta was observed in three pregnancies (n = 2 at 14 dpi and n = 1 at 21 dpi) and ZIKV was detected in fetal tissues in two pregnancies: one associated with fetal death at ~14 dpi, and the other in a viable fetus at 21 dpi. ZIKV RNA was detected in the fetal cerebral cortex and other tissues of both of these fetuses. In the fetus studied at 21 dpi with vertical transfer of virus to the CNS, the frontal cerebral cortex exhibited notable defects in radial glia, radial glial fibers, disorganized migration of immature neurons to the cortical layers, and signs of pathology in immature oligodendrocytes. In addition, indices of pronounced neuroinflammation were observed including astrogliosis, increased microglia and IL6 expression. Of interest, in one fetus examined at 14 dpi without detection of ZIKV RNA in brain and other fetal tissues, increased neuroinflammation (IL6 and microglia) was observed in the cortex. Although the placenta of the 14 dpi dam with fetal death showed considerable pathology, only minor pathology was noted in the other three placentas. ZIKV was detected immunohistochemically in two placentas (14 dpi) and one placenta at 21 dpi but not at 7 dpi. This is the first study to examine the early events of vertical transfer of ZIKV in a NHP infected at mid-gestation. The baboon thus represents an additional NHP as a model for ZIKV induced brain pathologies to contrast and compare to humans as well as other NHPs.

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<![CDATA[Texture analysis of magnetic resonance images of the human placenta throughout gestation: A feasibility study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c45fd5eed0c4845e865c

As fetal gestational age increases, other modalities such as ultrasound have demonstrated increased levels of heterogeneity in the normal placenta. In this study, we introduce and apply ROI-based texture analysis to a retrospective fetal MRI database to characterize the second-order statistics of placenta and to evaluate the relationship between heterogeneity and gestational age. Positive correlations were observed for several Haralick texture metrics derived from fetal-brain specific T2-weighted and gravid uterus T1-weighted and T2-weighted images, confirming a quantitative increase in placental heterogeneity with gestational age. Our study shows the importance of identifying baseline MR textural changes at certain gestational ages from which placental diseased states may be compared. Specifically, when evaluating for placental invasion or insufficiency, findings should be evaluated in the context of the normal placental aging process, which occurs throughout gestation.

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<![CDATA[A novel radiological classification system for cerebral gliomas: The Brain-Grid]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536b82d5eed0c484a48bc8

Purpose

Standard radiological/topographical classifications of gliomas often do not reflect the real extension of the tumor within the lobar-cortical anatomy. Furthermore, these systems do not provide information on the relationship between tumor growth and the subcortical white matter architecture. We propose the use of an anatomically standardized grid system (the Brain-Grid) to merge serial morphological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans with a representative tractographic atlas. Two illustrative cases are presented to show the potential advantages of this classification system.

Methods

MRI scans of 39 patients (WHO grade II and III gliomas) were analyzed with a standardized grid created by intersecting longitudinal lines on the axial, sagittal, and coronal planes. The anatomical landmarks were chosen from an average brain, spatially normalized to the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) space and the Talairach space. Major white matter pathways were reconstructed with a deterministic tracking algorithm on a reference atlas and analyzed using the Brain-Grid system.

Results

In all, 48 brain grid voxels (areas defined by 3 coordinates, axial (A), coronal (C), sagittal (S) and numbers from 1 to 4) were delineated in each MRI sequence and on the tractographic atlas. The number of grid voxels infiltrated was consistent, also in the MNI space. The sub-cortical insula/basal ganglia (A3-C2-S2) and the fronto-insular region (A3-C2-S1) were most frequently involved. The inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, uncinate fasciculus, and external capsule were the most frequently associated pathways in both hemispheres.

Conclusions

The Brain-Grid based classification system provides an accurate observational tool in all patients with suspected gliomas, based on the comparison of grid voxels on a morphological MRI and segmented white matter atlas. Important biological information on tumor kinetics including extension, speed, and preferential direction of progression can be observed and even predicted with this system. This novel classification can easily be applied to both prospective and retrospective cohorts of patients and increase our comprehension of glioma behavior.

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<![CDATA[Neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects of CRMP-5 on retinal ganglion cells in an experimental in vivo and in vitro model of glaucoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521853d5eed0c484797c19

Purpose

To analyze the potential neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative effects of Collapsin-response-mediator-protein-5 (CRMP-5) on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) using in vitro and in vivo animal models of glaucoma.

Methods

Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) was induced in adult female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats by cauterization of three episcleral veins. Changes in CRMP-5 expression within the retinal proteome were analyzed via label-free mass spectrometry. In vitro, retinal explants were cultured under elevated pressure (60 mmHg) within a high-pressure incubation chamber with and without addition of different concentrations of CRMP-5 (4 μg/l, 200 μg/l and 400 μg/l). In addition, retinal explants were cultured under regenerative conditions with and without application of 200 μg/l CRMP-5 after performing an optic nerve crush (ONC). Thirdly, an antibody against Protein Kinase B (PKB) was added to examine the possible effects of CRMP-5. RGC count was performed. Number and length of the axons were determined and compared. To undermine a signal-transduction pathway via CRMP-5 and PKB microarray and immunohistochemistry were performed.

Results

CRMP-5 was downregulated threefold in animals showing chronically elevated IOP. The addition of CRMP-5 to retinal culture significantly increased RGC numbers under pressure in a dose-dependent manner and increased and elongated outgrowing axons in retinal explants significantly which could be blocked by PKB. Especially the number of neurites longer than 400 μm significantly increased after application of CRMP-5. CRMP-5 as well as PKB were detected higher in the experimental than in the control group.

Conclusion

CRMP-5 seems to play an important role in an animal model of glaucoma. Addition of CRMP-5 exerts neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative effects in vitro. This effect could be mediated via activation of PKB affecting intra-cellular apoptosis pathways.

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<![CDATA[Follow-up study of high-dose praziquantel therapy for cerebral sparganosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466524d5eed0c484517a5b

Background

Cerebral sparganosis is the most serious complication of human sparganosis. Currently, there is no standard for the treatment of inoperable patients. Conventional-dose praziquantel therapy is the most reported treatment. However, the therapeutic outcomes are not very effective. High-dose praziquantel therapy is a useful therapeutic choice for many parasitic diseases that is well tolerated by patients, but it has not been sufficiently evaluated for cerebral sparganosis. This study aims to observe the prognoses following high-dose praziquantel therapy in inoperable patients and the roles of MRI and peripheral eosinophil absolute counts during follow-up.

Methodology

Baseline and follow-up epidemiological, clinical, radiological and therapeutic data related to 10 inoperable patients with cerebral sparganosis that were treated with repeated courses of high-dose praziquantel therapy, with each course consisting of 25 mg/kg thrice daily for 10 days were assessed, followed by analyses of the prognoses, MRI findings and peripheral eosinophil absolute counts.

Principal findings

Baseline clinical data: the clinical symptoms recorded included seizures, hemiparesis, headache, vomiting and altered mental status. Peripheral blood eosinophilia was found in 3 patients. The baseline radiological findings were as follows. Motile lesions were observed in 10 patients, including aggregated ring-like enhancements, tunnel signs, serpiginous and irregular enhancements. Nine of the 10 patients had varying degrees of white matter degeneration, cortical atrophy and ipsilateral ventricle dilation. The follow-up clinical data were as follows. Clinical symptom relief was found in 8 patients, symptoms were eliminated in 1 patient, and symptoms showed no change from baseline in 1 patient. Peripheral blood eosinophilia was found in 2 patients. The follow-up radiological findings were as follows. Motile lesions that were transformed into stable, chronic lesions were found in 8 patients, and motile lesions that were eliminated completely were found in 2 patients.

Conclusions

High-dose praziquantel therapy for cerebral sparganosis is effective. The radiological outcomes of motile lesions are an important indicator during the treatment process, especially during follow-ups after clinical symptoms have improved. Peripheral eosinophil absolute counts cannot be used as an effective prognostic indicator.

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<![CDATA[Effects of early adversity on the brain: Larger-volume anterior cingulate cortex in AIDS orphans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46658cd5eed0c484519b78

Multiple studies have revealed that adolescent AIDS orphans have more psychosocial problems than healthy adolescents. However, little is known about whether and how the brain structures of adolescent AIDS orphans differ from those of healthy adolescents. Here, we used magnetic resonance imaging to compare adolescent AIDS orphans reared in institutions (N = 20) with a sex- and age-matched group of healthy adolescents reared in families (N = 20) in China using a voxel-based morphometry analysis. First, we found that both total gray- and white-matter volumes did not differ between groups. Second, after correcting for age, sex, and total gray-matter volume, the AIDS orphan group demonstrated smaller hippocampal volumes, larger anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) volumes, and no differences in the amygdala. Third, a whole-brain analysis identified higher gray-matter volume of the ACC in the AIDS orphan group than in the control group. The preliminary findings of this study highlight the need for future research to confirm the sensitivity of the hippocampus and ACC to early adversity.

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