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Concept: Intrathecal


TRPA1 is a unique sensor of noxious stimuli and, hence, a potential drug target for analgesics. Here we show that the antinociceptive effects of spinal and systemic administration of acetaminophen (paracetamol) are lost in Trpa1(-/-) mice. The electrophilic metabolites N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine and p-benzoquinone, but not acetaminophen itself, activate mouse and human TRPA1. These metabolites also activate native TRPA1 and, as a consequence, reduce voltage-gated calcium and sodium currents in primary sensory neurons. The N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine metabolite L-cysteinyl-S-acetaminophen was detected in the mouse spinal cord after systemic acetaminophen administration. In the hot-plate test, intrathecal administration of N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine, p-benzoquinone and the electrophilic TRPA1 activator cinnamaldehyde produced antinociception that was lost in Trpa1(-/-) mice. Intrathecal injection of a non-electrophilic cannabinoid, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabiorcol, also produced TRPA1-dependent antinociception in this test. Our study provides a molecular mechanism for the antinociceptive effect of acetaminophen and discloses spinal TRPA1 activation as a potential pharmacological strategy to alleviate pain.

Concepts: Neuron, Pain, Sensory system, Paracetamol, Rat, Rodent, Mouse, Intrathecal


BACKGROUND:: Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) is an effective therapy for spasticity and dystonia in pediatric populations; however, there are associated infectious complications. METHODS:: Patients who had an initial ITB device implanted at our center were followed to determine the proportion of patients with infectious and non-infectious complications, identify risk factors for infection and describe the clinical presentations, treatment and outcomes of infectious complications. RESULTS:: Over the 15 year study period, 139 patients had an initial ITB device placed. The mean age at placement was 13.6 years (range- 6 months to 41 years). In the first year of follow-up, 83% had no complications or secondary procedures, 17% had at least one secondary procedure and 5% had an infectious complication. The median time until infection was 14 days (mean 33 ± 42 days). Patients with secondary spasticity or dystonia were more likely to have infections than patients with cerebral palsy (86% vs.14%; p<0.0001). In the 94 patients with a first secondary procedure, 29% had at least one other procedure and 8% had an infection in the one year follow-up. Overall, 24 patients had 27 infections; 22% superficial, 33% deep and 45% organ space. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated in 50% of those with cultures obtained. Explantation was required in 59% of patients with an infection and differed by infection type: superficial (17%), deep (44%) and organ space (92%) (p=0.004). CONCLUSIONS:: Infectious complications were relatively uncommon; however, when present, frequently led to the explantation of the ITB pump device.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Infection, Median, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Intrathecal, Spastic diplegia, Intrathecal pump, Baclofen


Dexmedetomidine, a selective alpha 2-adrenoceptor (α2AR) agonist, has provided significant analgesia in neuropathic pain. However, its underlying molecular mechanism has not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we found that intrathecal administration of dexmedetomidine alleviated mechanical allodynia induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI), and pretreatment with BRL44408 significantly reversed the dexmedetomidine-induced anti-nociceptive effect. Western blotting revealed that dexmedetomidine reduced the activation of microglia and the upregulation of interleukin-18 (IL-18) protein expression in the ipsilateral lumbar spinal dorsal horn, while BRL44408 pretreatment significantly blocked these effects of dexmedetomidine. Immunocytochemistry/immunohistochemistry indicated that the α2A-adrenoceptor was localised to microglia in primary culture, and IL-18 predominantly colocalised with the microglial marker Iba-1 in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. These results suggest that the IL-18 signalling pathway in microglia may be involved in the anti-nociceptive effect of dexmedetomidine in rats subjected to CCI.

Concepts: Present, Molecular biology, Signal transduction, Effect, Pain, Agonist, Intrathecal, Functional selectivity


BACKGROUND:The epidural test dose, used to identify unintended intrathecal placement, should reliably produce a spinal block without posing a threat to the patient. Most anesthesiologists administer a dose of local anesthetic, commonly lidocaine 45 mg. Pregnant patients are more sensitive to local anesthetics; high and total spinal anesthesia have been reported in the pregnant population with this dose. We hypothesized that lidocaine 30 mg was as effective as lidocaine 45 mg in creating rapid objective evidence of a sensory or motor block.METHODS:In this prospective, randomized, double-blind trial, patients scheduled for cesarean delivery were assigned to 1 of 4 groups: lidocaine 30 mg in the spinal or epidural space, or lidocaine 45 mg by the same routes. A blinded observer assessed the degree of sensory and motor block. The ability to identify intrathecal injection of each dose was compared. Sensory block above T6 dermatome and hypotension were recorded as side effects.RESULTS:Intrathecal administration of lidocaine 30 mg produced rapid subjective and objective signs of neuroblockade within 3 minutes (100%, 95% confidence interval CI, 85%-100% for each). Lidocaine 45 mg produced similar results. All patients in both groups described their legs as warm or heavy after 3 minutes and had a motor block by 5 minutes. On the basis of an intrathecal catheter rate of 1:380, the observed negative predictive value for intrathecal placement if the patient described no sensory changes at 3 minutes was 100% (95% CI, 99.95%-100%) for 30 mg and 100% (95% CI, 99.93%-100%) for 45 mg. We did not identify a decrease in the rate of side effects with the lower dose.CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that there is unlikely to be a large difference in the ability of these doses to detect unintentional intrathecal catheter placement. While the negative predictive value for intrathecal injection is very high for both doses, the 95% CI for the sensitivity of either dose is too wide to demonstrate clinical safety to identify all intrathecal catheters. A much larger study is warranted to assess whether there is a lower sensitivity with the 30-mg dose, or a propensity toward high cephalad motor block levels with the 45-mg dose.

Concepts: Childbirth, Randomized controlled trial, Anesthesia, Epidural, Catheter, Intrathecal, Local anesthetic, Spinal anaesthesia


BACKGROUND: Shivering during regional anesthesia is a common complication and is related to a decrease in the patient’s core body temperature. Previous studies have shown that acupuncture on specific acupoints can preserve core body temperature. The present study evaluated the effect of electroacupuncture in preventing the shivering caused by regional anesthesia. METHODS: This prospective and randomized controlled study analyzed the data from 80 patients undergoing urological surgery, who were classified as ASA I or II. Spinal anesthesia was performed in all patients using 15 mg of bupivacaine. The patients were randomly allocated to receive either placebo acupuncture (Group P, n = 40) or electroacupuncture (Group A, n = 40) for 30 min before administration of spinal anesthesia. Shivering score was recorded at 5 min intervals, with 0 representing no shivering and 4 representing the most severe shivering possible. Heart rate, blood pressure, and tympanic temperature were recorded before the intrathecal injection, and again every 5 min thereafter until 30 min. RESULTS: After spinal anesthesia, the decrease in tympanic temperature was less for Group A patients than Group P, with the difference being statistically significant. After 15 min, 13 patients in Group P attained a shivering score of 3 or more, compared with 3 patients in Group A. Significantly more patients in Group P attained a shivering score of at least 1. CONCLUSIONS: The prophylactic use of electroacupuncture might maintain core body temperature, and may effectively prevent the shivering that commonly develops during regional anesthesia.Trial registrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000096853.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Statistical significance, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Acupuncture, Intrathecal, Spinal anaesthesia


Neural toxicity of substances injected into the intrathecal space has been a matter of debate since the introduction of spinal anesthesia in clinical practice. In recent years, new local anesthetics and adjuvants have been proposed for intrathecal use, and new techniques such as the use of ultrasound have been propagated. The present review summarizes recent clinical and experimental data on the neurotoxic effects of drugs and substances used for or in conjunction with spinal anesthesia.

Concepts: Present, Time, Chemistry, Anesthesia, Local anesthesia, Intrathecal, Local anesthetic, Anesthetic


The objective of the study was to retrospectively evaluate the short-term safety of intrathecal administration of cytosine arabinoside alone or in combination with methotrexate in dogs and cats. One hundred and twelve dogs and eight cats admitted between September 2008 and December 2013, diagnosed with suspected inflammatory (meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown aetiology) or neoplastic disease affecting brain or spinal cord and treated with an intrathecal administration of cytosine arabinoside alone or in combination with methotrexate were included in the study. Recorded information regarding possible adverse events during administration while recovering from anaesthesia and during hospitalization period were evaluated. The results showed that one patient developed generalized tonic-clonic seizure activity after administration of cytosine arabinoside and methotrexate during recovery from anaesthesia, however responded to intravenous administration of diazepam. On the base of our results we can conclude that intrathecal administration of cytosine arabinoside alone or in combination with methotrexate is a safe procedure in dogs and cats.

Concepts: Cancer, Intravenous therapy, Neoplasm, Neurology, Methotrexate, Cerebrospinal fluid, Seizure, Intrathecal


The patient was a 70-year-old woman with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma which showed a predominantly diffuse involvement of the bone marrow and kidney. Because atypical lymphocytes appeared in the cerebrospinal fluid, the intrathecal administration of methotrexate (MTX) and cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) was repeated several times. The patient developed flaccid paraplegia 8 months after the beginning of intrathecal administration, and died 4 months later. Autopsy demonstrated extensive transverse necrosis involving the lower thoracic cord and marked vacuolar degeneration of the white matter of the cervical, upper thoracic and lumbo-sacral cord. Focal vacuolar degeneration of the white matter was also noted in the left parietal lobe. Although vacuolar degeneration of the white matter is a common feature in MTX myelopathy, extensive transverse necrosis is rare. In the present case, an overlapping of two mechanisms, that is, injury of vascular endothelial cells and the direct toxic effect of MTX and Ara-C on the white matter, probably played a crucial role in the pathogenesis of severe myelopathy. Because severe myelopathy occurs infrequently, considering the large number of patients receiving the intrathecal administration of MTX, it is possible that a constitutional predisposition or abnormal sensitivity to MTX was involved in the pathogenesis in the present patient.

Concepts: Immune system, Spinal cord, Patient, Cerebrum, Endothelium, Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Intrathecal


This is the case of a 24-year-old woman with relapsed acute undifferentiated leukemia who developed subacute encephalopathy with hemiparesis and dysarthria after treatment with high dose and intrathecal methotrexate, clofarabine, and cytarabine that resolved rapidly and completely after the administration of corticosteroids. We hypothesize that clofarabine might predispose to methotrexate-induced central nervous system toxicity by increasing endothelial permeability (capillary leak syndrome) and suggest that corticosteroids are effective in the treatment of this type of encephalopathy.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Neurology, Toxicology, Acute, Intrathecal


Leptomeningeal metastasis (LM) from solid tumors is typically a late manifestation of systemic cancer with limited survival. Randomized trials comparing single agent intrathecal methotrexate to liposomal cytarabine have shown similar efficacy and tolerability. We hypothesized that combination intrathecal chemotherapy would be a safe and tolerable option in solid tumor LM. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of combination IT chemotherapy in solid tumor LM at a single institution between April 2010 and July 2012. In addition to therapies directed at active systemic disease, each subject received IT liposomal cytarabine plus IT methotrexate with dexamethasone premedication. Patient characteristics, survival outcomes and toxicities were determined by systematic chart review. Thirty subjects were treated during the study period. The most common cancer types were breast 15 (50 %), glioblastoma 6 (20 %), and lung 5 (17 %). Cytologic clearance was achieved in 6 (33 %). Median non-glioblastoma overall survival was 30.2 weeks (n = 18; range 3.9-73.4), and did not differ significantly by tumor type. Median time to neurologic progression was 7 weeks (n = 8; range 0.9-57), with 10 subjects (56 %) experiencing death from systemic disease without progression of LM. Age less than 60 was associated with longer overall survival (p = 0.01). Six (21 %) experienced grade III toxicities during treatment, most commonly meningitis 2 (7 %). Combination IT chemotherapy was feasible in this small retrospective cohort. Prospective evaluation is necessary to determine tolerability, the impact on quality of life and neurocognitive outcomes or any survival benefit when compared to single agent IT chemotherapy.

Concepts: Cohort study, Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm, Intrathecal