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Concept: Peripheral nervous system

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To the Editor: Zika virus (ZIKV) is currently spreading widely, while its clinical spectrum remains a matter of investigation. Evidence of a relationship between ZIKV infection and cerebral birth abnormalities(1),(2) is growing.(3) An increased incidence of some peripheral nervous syndromes among adults was reported during outbreaks in French Polynesia(4),(5) and Brazil,(1),(2) but no formal link with ZIKV infection was shown. We describe a case of central nervous system infection with ZIKV that was associated with meningoencephalitis in an adult. An 81-year-old man was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) 10 days after he had been on . . .

Concepts: AIDS, Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Brain, The Canon of Medicine, Intensive care medicine, Peripheral nervous system

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Following traumatic spinal cord injury, acute demyelination of spinal axons is followed by a period of spontaneous remyelination. However, this endogenous repair response is suboptimal and may account for the persistently compromised function of surviving axons. Spontaneous remyelination is largely mediated by Schwann cells, where demyelinated central axons, particularly in the dorsal columns, become associated with peripheral myelin. The molecular control, functional role and origin of these central remyelinating Schwann cells is currently unknown. The growth factor neuregulin-1 (Nrg1, encoded by NRG1) is a key signalling factor controlling myelination in the peripheral nervous system, via signalling through ErbB tyrosine kinase receptors. Here we examined whether Nrg1 is required for Schwann cell-mediated remyelination of central dorsal column axons and whether Nrg1 ablation influences the degree of spontaneous remyelination and functional recovery following spinal cord injury. In contused adult mice with conditional ablation of Nrg1, we found an absence of Schwann cells within the spinal cord and profound demyelination of dorsal column axons. There was no compensatory increase in oligodendrocyte remyelination. Removal of peripheral input to the spinal cord and proliferation studies demonstrated that the majority of remyelinating Schwann cells originated within the injured spinal cord. We also examined the role of specific Nrg1 isoforms, using mutant mice in which only the immunoglobulin-containing isoforms of Nrg1 (types I and II) were conditionally ablated, leaving the type III Nrg1 intact. We found that the immunoglobulin Nrg1 isoforms were dispensable for Schwann cell-mediated remyelination of central axons after spinal cord injury. When functional effects were examined, both global Nrg1 and immunoglobulin-specific Nrg1 mutants demonstrated reduced spontaneous locomotor recovery compared to injured controls, although global Nrg1 mutants were more impaired in tests requiring co-ordination, balance and proprioception. Furthermore, electrophysiological assessments revealed severely impaired axonal conduction in the dorsal columns of global Nrg1 mutants (where Schwann cell-mediated remyelination is prevented), but not immunoglobulin-specific mutants (where Schwann cell-mediated remyelination remains intact), providing robust evidence that the profound demyelinating phenotype observed in the dorsal columns of Nrg1 mutant mice is related to conduction failure. Our data provide novel mechanistic insight into endogenous regenerative processes after spinal cord injury, demonstrating that Nrg1 signalling regulates central axon remyelination and functional repair and drives the trans-differentiation of central precursor cells into peripheral nervous system-like Schwann cells that remyelinate spinal axons after injury. Manipulation of the Nrg1 system could therefore be exploited to enhance spontaneous repair after spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders with a demyelinating pathology.media-1vid110.1093/brain/aww039_video_abstractaww039_video_abstract.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Neuron, Action potential, Axon, Myelin, Oligodendrocyte, Peripheral nervous system

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The peripheral nervous system has a limited innate capacity for self-repair following injury, and surgical intervention is often required. For injuries greater than a few millimeters autografting is standard practice although it is associated with donor site morbidity and is limited in its availability. Because of this, nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) can be viewed as an advantageous alternative, but currently have limited efficacy for short and large injury gaps in comparison to autograft. Current commercially available NGC designs rely on existing regulatory approved materials and traditional production methods, limiting improvement of their design. The aim of this study was to establish a novel method for NGC manufacture using a custom built laser-based microstereolithography (μSL) setup that incorporated a 405 nm laser source to produce 3D constructs with ∼ 50 μm resolution from a photocurable poly(ethylene glycol) resin. These were evaluated by SEM, in vitro neuronal, Schwann and dorsal root ganglion culture and in vivo using a thy-1-YFP-H mouse common fibular nerve injury model. NGCs with dimensions of 1 mm internal diameter × 5 mm length with a wall thickness of 250 μm were fabricated and capable of supporting re-innervation across a 3 mm injury gap after 21 days, with results close to that of an autograft control. The study provides a technology platform for the rapid microfabrication of biocompatible materials, a novel method for in vivo evaluation, and a benchmark for future development in more advanced NGC designs, biodegradable and larger device sizes, and longer-term implantation studies.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Ganglion, Surgery, In vivo, Action potential, In vitro, Peripheral nervous system

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Object Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are aggressive sarcomas that often arise from major peripheral nerves. Approximately half of MPNSTs arise in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) who, in comparison with patients without NF1, present at younger ages and with larger tumors that are commonly associated with extensive plexiform neurofibromas. These tumors therefore pose a particularly difficult treatment challenge because of the morbidity often associated with attempted gross-total resection (GTR). Here, the authors aim to examine what role the extent of resection and other covariates play in the long-term survival of patients with NF1 in the setting of MPNST. Methods The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 23 adult patients with NF1 who underwent surgery for MPNSTs at their institution between 1991 and 2008. The primary end points of the study were mortality, local recurrence, and metastasis. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were evaluated for all patients. Differences for each of the primary end points were evaluated based on cause-specific covariates, which included tiered tumor size, tumor location, grade, resection margin status, postoperative weakness, and use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Multivariate analysis was performed using Cox proportional hazards models. Results Gross-total resection (p = 0.01) and surgical margin status (p = 0.034) had a statistically important role in prolonging overall survival in patients with NF1 by univariate analysis. When tumor size, location, grade, postoperative weakness, and radiation therapy were also taken into account using multivariate analysis, GTR continued to be a significant prognostic factor (p = 0.035). Conclusions These findings suggest that GTR offers significant long-term benefit on survival in patients with NF1. Benefit on survival occurred independently of all other covariates, suggesting that complete resection should be the principal goal of treatment in this patient population.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Survival analysis, Action potential, Multivariate statistics, Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, Nerve sheath tumor, Peripheral nervous system

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Fas is a transmembrane receptor involved in the death program of several cell lines, including T lymphocytes. Deleterious mutations hitting genes involved in the Fas pathway cause the autoimmune lymphoprolipherative syndrome (ALPS). Moreover, defective Fas function is involved in the development of common autoimmune diseases, including autoimmune syndromes hitting the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). In this review, we first explore some peculiar aspects of Fas mediated apoptosis in the central versus peripheral nervous system (CNS, PNS); thereafter, we analyze what is currently known on the role of T cell apoptosis in both MS and CIDP, which, in this regard, may be seen as two faces of the same coin. In fact, we show that, in both diseases, defective Fas mediated apoptosis plays a crucial role favoring disease development and its chronic evolution.

Concepts: Immune system, Central nervous system, Nervous system, Multiple sclerosis, Myelin, Autoimmune diseases, Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Peripheral nervous system

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Femoral continuous peripheral nerve blocks (CPNBs) provide effective analgesia after TKA but have been associated with quadriceps weakness and delayed ambulation. A promising alternative is adductor canal CPNB that delivers a primarily sensory blockade; however, the differential effects of these two techniques on functional outcomes after TKA are not well established.

Concepts: Femoral vein, Peripheral nervous system, Femoral nerve, Saphenous nerve, Nerve block, Adductor canal

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OBJECTIVE: The male refractory period (MRP) continues to be a topic of discussion and debate within the field of sexual medicine. To date explanations rely on central descending (efferent) influences involving specific neurotransmitter systems. Herein we explore the issue of the male refractory period, identifying problems with current explanations, specifying the parameters of an adequate model, and suggesting possible mechanisms mediating this phenomenon. METHODS: We review the literature regarding existing explanations for the MRP and look to other systems of physiological regulation that might provide a model for the conceptualization of the MRP. RESULTS: Our approach differs from traditional explanations in that it emphasizes the possible roles of various peripheral, rather than central, feedback (afferent) systems that affect peripheral autonomic functioning and response. Yet our approach is consistent with other peripheral regulatory feedback systems controlling autonomic response related to such processes as heart rate, respiration, and gut motility. CONCLUSION: Although direct empirical research supporting our approach is lacking, sufficient evidence exists to support the idea that such processes are not only possible but likely with respect to the male refractory period. We suggest several lines of research that might provide empirical support for this approach.

Concepts: Physiology, Avicenna, Neuroscience, Ontology, Idea, Empirical research, Peripheral nervous system, Refractory period

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The present review assesses the current state of literature defining integrative autonomic-immune physiological processing, focusing on studies that have employed electrophysiological, pharmacological, molecular biological, and central nervous system experimental approaches. Central autonomic neural networks are informed of peripheral immune status via numerous communicating pathways, including neural and non-neural. Cytokines and other immune factors affect the level of activity and responsivity of discharges in sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves innervating diverse targets. Multiple levels of the neuraxis contribute to cytokine-induced changes in efferent parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve outflows, leading to modulation of peripheral immune responses. The functionality of local sympathoimmune interactions depends on the microenvironment created by diverse signaling mechanisms involving integration between sympathetic nervous system neurotransmitters and neuromodulators; specific adrenergic receptors; and the presence or absence of immune cells, cytokines, and bacteria. Functional mechanisms contributing to the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway likely involve novel cholinergic-adrenergic interactions at peripheral sites, including autonomic ganglion and lymphoid targets. Immune cells express adrenergic and nicotinic receptors. Neurotransmitters released by sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve endings bind to their respective receptors located on the surface of immune cells and initiate immune-modulatory responses. Both sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system are instrumental in orchestrating neuroimmune processes, although additional studies are required to understand dynamic and complex adrenergic-cholinergic interactions. Further understanding of regulatory mechanisms linking the sympathetic nervous, parasympathetic nervous, and immune systems is critical for understanding relationships between chronic disease development and immune-associated changes in autonomic nervous system function. © 2014 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 4:1177-1200, 2014.

Concepts: Nervous system, Brain, Acetylcholine, Autonomic nervous system, Sympathetic nervous system, Parasympathetic nervous system, Peripheral nervous system, Enteric nervous system

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Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a particularly challenging neuropathic pain condition, especially when it involves the trigeminal nerve. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) can provide 50-70% improvement in pain to many who fail medical management. However, this pain relief can be incomplete, and residual pain may persist for many years. Here we report a case that was successfully managed by a novel technique of combining supraorbital nerve stimulation with botulinum toxin type A (BTA) for intractable ophthalmic PHN.

Concepts: Neurology, Pain, Botulinum toxin, Postherpetic neuralgia, Peripheral nervous system, Trigeminal nerve, Trigeminal neuralgia, Ophthalmic nerve

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Myocarditis, which is caused by viral infection, can lead to heart failure, malignant arrhythmias, and even sudden cardiac death in young patients. It is also one of the most important causes of dilated cardiomyopathy worldwide. Although remarkable advances in diagnosis and understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of viral myocarditis have been gained during recent years, no standard treatment strategies have been defined as yet. Fortunately, recent studies present some evidence that immunomodulating therapy is effective for myocarditis. The immunomodulatory effect of the autonomic nervous system has raised considerable interest over recent decades. Studying the influence on the inflammation and immune system of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems will not only increase our understanding of the mechanism of disease but could also lead to the identification of potential new therapies for viral myocarditis. Studies have shown that the immunomodulating effect of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system is realized by the release of neurotransmitters to their corresponding receptors (catecholamine for α or β adrenergic receptor, acetylcholine for α7 nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptor). This review will discuss the current knowledge of the roles of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system in inflammation, with a special focus on their roles in viral myocarditis.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine, Autonomic nervous system, Sympathetic nervous system, Parasympathetic nervous system, Peripheral nervous system, Enteric nervous system