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      The effects of magnesium sulfate therapy after severe diffuse axonal injury

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          To evaluate the clinical effects of magnesium sulfate in the treatment of diffuse axonal injury (DAI).

          Patients and methods

          This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou and Zhuhai People’s Hospital, Zhuhai, two trauma center hospitals. A total of 128 patients suffered from DAI, with initial Glasgow coma scale (GCS) scores of 3–8. They were randomly divided into two groups: magnesium sulfate treatment (MST) group (n=64) and control group (n=64). The MST group received 250 μmol/kg magnesium sulfate intravenously 20 minutes after admission, followed by 750 μmol/kg magnesium sulfate intravenously daily for 5 days. The control group received standard management without MST. GCS scores and serum neuron-specific enolase values were measured and recorded at admission, and on days 3 and 7 after injury. Outcomes were determined by Glasgow outcome scale scores at discharge and at 3 months’ follow-up, respectively.


          After the 7-day treatment, patients in the MST group, compared with those in the control group, had a lower serum neuron-specific enolase level (25.40±6.66 vs 29.58±7.32, respectively, P=0.001) and higher GCS score (8.23±2.72 vs 7.05±2.64, respectively, P=0.016). Although the length of stay and mortality did not differ between the groups in the intensive care unit, Glasgow outcome scale score was significantly lower in the MST group at discharge (3.30±1.35 vs 3.90±1.10, P=0.004) and 3 months after discharge (2.95±1.48 vs 3.66±1.44, P=0.009).


          Early treatment with magnesium sulfate resulted in a significant improvement in DAI outcome. Further studies are needed to confirm the clinical significance of treatment of DAI patients with magnesium sulfate.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Diffuse axonal injury in head injury: definition, diagnosis and grading.

          Diffuse axonal injury is one of the most important types of brain damage that can occur as a result of non-missile head injury, and it may be very difficult to diagnose post mortem unless the pathologist knows precisely what he is looking for. Increasing experience with fatal non-missile head injury in man has allowed the identification of three grades of diffuse axonal injury. In grade 1 there is histological evidence of axonal injury in the white matter of the cerebral hemispheres, the corpus callosum, the brain stem and, less commonly, the cerebellum; in grade 2 there is also a focal lesion in the corpus callosum; and in grade 3 there is in addition a focal lesion in the dorsolateral quadrant or quadrants of the rostral brain stem. The focal lesions can often only be identified microscopically. Diffuse axonal injury was identified in 122 of a series of 434 fatal non-missile head injuries--10 grade 1, 29 grade 2 and 83 grade 3. In 24 of these cases the diagnosis could not have been made without microscopical examination, while in a further 31 microscopical examination was required to establish its severity.
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            Tau elevations in the brain extracellular space correlate with reduced amyloid-β levels and predict adverse clinical outcomes after severe traumatic brain injury.

            Axonal injury is believed to be a major determinant of adverse outcomes following traumatic brain injury. However, it has been difficult to assess acutely the severity of axonal injury in human traumatic brain injury patients. We hypothesized that microdialysis-based measurements of the brain extracellular fluid levels of tau and neurofilament light chain, two low molecular weight axonal proteins, could be helpful in this regard. To test this hypothesis, 100 kDa cut-off microdialysis catheters were placed in 16 patients with severe traumatic brain injury at two neurological/neurosurgical intensive care units. Tau levels in the microdialysis samples were highest early and fell over time in all patients. Initial tau levels were >3-fold higher in patients with microdialysis catheters placed in pericontusional regions than in patients in whom catheters were placed in normal-appearing right frontal lobe tissue (P = 0.005). Tau levels and neurofilament light-chain levels were positively correlated (r = 0.6, P = 0.013). Neurofilament light-chain levels were also higher in patients with pericontusional catheters (P = 0.04). Interestingly, initial tau levels were inversely correlated with initial amyloid-β levels measured in the same samples (r = -0.87, P = 0.000023). This could be due to reduced synaptic activity in areas with substantial axonal injury, as amyloid-β release is closely coupled with synaptic activity. Importantly, high initial tau levels correlated with worse clinical outcomes, as assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale 6 months after injury (r = -0.6, P = 0.018). Taken together, our data add support for the hypothesis that axonal injury may be related to long-term impairments following traumatic brain injury. Microdialysis-based measurement of tau levels in the brain extracellular space may be a useful way to assess the severity of axonal injury acutely in the intensive care unit. Further studies with larger numbers of patients will be required to assess the reproducibility of these findings and to determine whether this approach provides added value when combined with clinical and radiological information.
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              Traumatically induced axonal injury: pathogenesis and pathobiological implications.

              This work reviews the pathobiology of traumatically induced axonal injury. Drawing upon literature gleaned from the experimental and clinical setting, this review attempts to emphasize that, other than the most destructive insults, traumatic brain injury does not typically cause direct mechanical disruption of the axon. Rather, this review documents that with traumatic injury focal, subtle axonal change occurs, and that over time, such change leads to impaired axoplasmic transport, continued axonal swelling, and ultimate disconnection. The initial intra-axonal events that trigger the above described sequence of reactive axonal change are considered with focus on the possibility of either traumatically altered axolemmal permeability, direct cytoskeletal damage/perturbation, or more overt metabolic/functional disturbances. Not only does this review focus on the sequence of traumatically induced axonal change, but also, it considers its attendant consequences in terms of Wallerian degeneration and subsequent deafferentation. The concept that traumatically induced diffuse axonal injury leads to diffuse deafferentation is emphasized together with its pathobiological implications for morbidity and recovery. The potential for either adaptive or maladaptive neuroplasticity subsequent to such diffuse deafferentation is considered in the context of mild, moderate and severe traumatic brain injury.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                27 September 2016
                : 12
                : 1481-1486
                [1 ]Department of Critical Care Medicine, Zhuhai People’s Hospital, Zhuhai, Guangdong
                [2 ]Department of Critical Care Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xiang-Dong Guan, Department of Critical Care Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, No 58, the Second Road of ZhongShan Road, 239000, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 20 8733 1008, Fax +86 20 8733 1008, Email 13727021051@ 123456sina.cn
                © 2016 Zhao et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                magnesium sulfate, diffuse axonal injury, outcome


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