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Childs Nerv Syst. 1998 Jun;14(6):247-55.

A rabbit model of human familial, nonsyndromic unicoronal suture synostosis. II. Intracranial contents, intracranial volume, and intracranial pressure.

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Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


This two-part study reviews data from a recently developed colony of New Zealand white rabbits with familial, nonsyndromic unilateral coronal suture synostosis, and this second part presents neuropathological findings and age-related changes in intracranial volume (ICV) and intracranial pressure (ICP) in 106 normal rabbits and 56 craniosynostotic rabbits from this colony. Brain morphology and anteroposterior length were described in 44 rabbit fetuses and perinates (27 normal; 17 synostosed). Middle meningeal artery patterns were qualitatively assessed from 2-D PCC MRI VENC scans and endocranial tracings from 15, 126-day-old rabbits (8 normal, 7 rabbits with unicoronal synostosis). Brain metabolism was evaluated by assessing 18F-FDG uptake with high-resolution PET scanning in 7, 25-day-old rabbits (3 normal, 4 with unicoronal or bicoronal synostosis). Intracranial contents and ICV were assessed using 3-D CT scanning of the skulls of 30 rabbits (20 normal,10 with unicoronal synostosis) at 42 and 126 days of age. Serial ICP data were collected from 66 rabbits (49 normal; 17 with unicoronal synostosis) at 25 and 42 days of age. ICP was assessed in the epidural space using a Codman NeuroMonitor microsensor transducer. Results revealed that cerebral cortex morphology was similar between normal and synostosed fetuses around the time of synostosis. Significantly (P<0.05) decreased A-P cerebral hemisphere growth rates and asymmetrical cortical remodeling were noted with increasing age in synostotic rabbits. In addition, rabbits with unicoronal suture synostosis exhibited asymmetrical middle meningeal artery patterns, decreased and asymmetrical brain metabolism, a "beaten-copper" intracranial appearance, significantly (P<0.05) decreased ICV, and significantly (P<0.01) elevated ICP compared with normal control rabbits. The advantages and disadvantages of these rabbits as a model for human familial, nonsyndromic unicoronal suture synostosis are discussed, especially in light of recent clinical neuropathological, ICV, and ICP findings recorded in human craniosynostotic studies.

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