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Am J Med Genet. 1993 Oct 1;47(5):581-616.

Sutural biology and the correlates of craniosynostosis.

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Department of Oral Biology, Faculties of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The purpose of this paper is to provide a new perspective on craniosynostosis by correlating what is known about sutural biology with the events of craniosynostosis per se. A number of key points emerge from this analysis: 1) Sutural initiation may take place by overlapping, which results in beveled sutures, or by end-to-end approximation, which produces nonbeveled, end-to-end sutures. All end-to-end sutures occur in the midline (e.g., sagittal and metopic) probably because embryonic biomechanical forces on either side of the initiating suture tend to be equal in magnitude. A correlate appears to be that only synostosed sutures of the midline have pronounced bony ridging. 2) Long-term histologic observations of the sutural life cycle call into question the number of layers within sutures. The structure varies not only in different sutures, but also within the same suture over time. 3) Few, if any, of the many elegant experimental research studies in the field of sutural biology have increased our understanding of craniosynostosis per se. An understanding of the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis requires a genetic animal model with primary craniosynostosis and molecular techniques to understand the gene defect. This may allow insight into pathogenetic mechanisms involved in primary craniosynostosis. It may prove to be quite heterogeneous at the basic level. 4) The relationship between suture closure, cessation of growth, and functional demands across sutures poses questions about various biological relationships. Two conclusions are provocative. First, cessation of growth does not necessarily, or always lead to fusion of sutures. Second, although patent sutures aid in the growth process, some growth can take place after suture closure. 5) In an affected suture, craniosynostosis usually begins at a single point and then spreads along the suture. This has been shown by serial sectioning and calls into question results of studies in which the affected sutures are only histologically sampled. 6) Craniosynostosis is etiologically and pathogenetically heterogeneous. Known human causes are reviewed. Is craniosynostosis simply normal suture closure commencing too early?(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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