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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The "filum intermedium" sign: focal in utero spinal cord infarct and extraspinal thecal sac. Case report.

This report describes the unique case of a child born with paraplegia and a neurogenic bladder who was found to have a dysplastic, nonossified T-12 vertebral body, midline fusion of the T-12 neural arches, obliteration of the spinal canal at T-12, and an extraspinal thecal sac in the T11-L1 region. Neural tissue was focally absent from T9-12, but neural structures above and below were preserved. Narrowing of the thecal sac on myelograms and sagittal magnetic resonance images signifies in utero focal infarction of the spinal cord after neurulation but before formation of the posterior half of the spinal canal. The infarction resulted in severe focal narrowing of the thecal sac from T10-L1, resembling a premature and duplicated filum terminale; to denote the radiographic appearance of these anomalies, the authors have coined the term "filum intermedium" sign. The extremely unusual radiographic findings in this child illustrate the important interactions between neural tube, neural crest, and somite in the development of the spinal cord and spinal column. Correlation of the radiographic findings with the embryological differentiation and migration of these structures suggests that the spinal anomalies were caused by a focal insult, probably vascular in origin, occurring between the sixth and eighth weeks of gestation. The identification of a focally narrowed thecal sac and spinal cord (the "filum intermedium" sign) localizes the time of the insult to between the first and third month of gestation, and therefore is a useful marker in understanding developmental malformation of the spinal cord.[1]


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