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Long-Term Neuropathological Changes Associated with Cerebral Palsy in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ryan M McAdams, Bobbi Fleiss, Christopher Traudt, Leslie Schwendimann, Jessica M Snyder, Robin L Haynes, Niranjana Natarajan, Pierre Gressens, Sandra E Juul

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-140
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Issue number1-4
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2017


King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood, with a worldwide prevalence of 1.5-4/1,000 live births. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) contributes to the burden of CP, but the long-term neuropathological findings of this association remain limited.

METHODOLOGY: Thirty-four term Macaca nemestrina macaques were included in this long-term neuropathological study: 9 control animals delivered by cesarean section and 25 animals with perinatal asphyxia delivered by cesarean section after 15-18 min of umbilical cord occlusion (UCO). UCO animals were randomized to saline (n = 11), therapeutic hypothermia (TH; n = 6), or TH + erythropoietin (Epo; n = 8). Epo was given on days 1, 2, 3, and 7. Animals had serial developmental assessments and underwent magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor imaging at 9 months of age followed by necropsy. Histology and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining of brain and brainstem sections were performed.

RESULTS: All UCO animals demonstrated and met the standard diagnostic criteria for human neonates with moderate-to-severe HIE. Four animals developed moderate-to-severe CP (3 UCO and 1 UCO + TH), 9 had mild CP (2 UCO, 3 UCO + TH, 3 UCO + TH + Epo, and 1 control), and 2 UCO animals died. None of the animals treated with TH + Epo died, had moderate-to-severe CP, or demonstrated signs of long-term neuropathological toxicity. Compared to animals grouped together as having no CP (no-CP; controls and mild CP only), animals with CP (moderate and severe) demonstrated decreased fractional anisotropy of multiple white-matter tracts including the corpus callosum and internal capsule, when using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS). Animals with CP had decreased staining for cortical neurons and increased brainstem glial scarring compared to animals without CP. The cerebellar cell density of the internal granular layer and white matter was decreased in CP animals compared to that in control animals without CP.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In this nonhuman primate HIE model, animals treated with TH + Epo had less brain pathology noted on TBSS and IHC staining, which supports the long-term safety of TH + Epo in the setting of HIE. Animals that developed CP showed white-matter changes noted on TBSS, subtle histopathological changes in both the white and gray matter, and brainstem injury that correlated with CP severity. This HIE model may lend itself to further study of the relationship between brainstem injury and CP.

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