Maldevelopment of the cerebral cortex in the surgically induced model of myelomeningocele: Implications for fetal neurosurgery

Jose L. Encinas, Miguel Ángel García-Cabezas, James Barkovich, César G. Fontecha, Jose L. Peiró, Garriboli M Carmen Soto, Victor Borrell, Isabel Reillo, Manuel López-Santamaría, Juan A. Tovar, Diana L Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe the malformations of cortical development detected in a model of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage and the influence of surgical closure technique on developmental outcome. Methods: Using a surgically induced model of myelomeningocele (MMC) in sheep, we studied the effects of different repair methods upon the development of hydrocephalus, the presence of the Arnold-Chiari II (AC-II) hindbrain malformation, and cerebral cortex developmental anomalies using gross and histologic (hematoxylin and eosin and Nissl staining) study techniques. Results: A malformed cerebral cortex, including 2 anomalous cortical folding patterns, and lower brain weights were observed in the untreated animals. Hydrocephalus and AC-II malformations were also found in this group. These malformations were mostly prevented with prenatal 2-layer closure. Conclusions: Cerebral cortical malformations and hydrocephalus, in addition to the AC-II hindbrain malformation, are disorders caused by fetal CSF leakage. These malformations were prevented with the technique of MMC closure currently used in humans. Both observations magnify the importance of the second hit associated with chronic CSF leakage, in addition to the primary defect causing the MMC, in the development of the malformation complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Brain
  • Cortex
  • Fetal surgery
  • Folding
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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