Evaluation of the Structure of Myodural Bridges in an Equine Model of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes

Abigail McElroy, Ann Rashmir, Jane Manfredi, Dodd Sledge, Elizabeth Carr, Edward Stopa & Petra Klinge

Myodural bridges have been described in various species as connective tissue structures “bridging” small cranio-cervical muscles to the dura. Myodural bridges are thought to stabilize the dural sac during head and neck movements and promote cerebrospinal fluid motion; however, their role in neurological diseases has not yet been established. We report ultrasonographic visualization, necropsy, histopathologic and ultrastructural findings of myodural bridges in horses with hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), an equine model of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Five HERDA and 5 control horses were studied. Post-mortem examination and ultrasonographic studies (3 HERDA and 4 controls) demonstrated that the atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial myodural bridges are dynamic structures “moving” the dura. En block resection of the myodural bridges (4 HERDA and 5 controls) was accomplished and histopathology showed myofiber degeneration in 3 HERDA horses and 1 control. Ultrastructural examination revealed loosely packed collagen fibrils with abnormal orientation in all HERDA horses compared to mild abnormalities in 2 controls. Our study provides necropsy and ultrasonographic evidence of the dynamic aspect of the myodural bridges as dural sac stabilizers. Myodural bridges may be pathologically altered in connective tissue disease as evidenced by the ultrastructural morphology in the HERDA myodural bridge.

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Abby McElroy, DVM, MS

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Petra M. Klinge, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurosurgery
Director, Pediatric Neurosurgery Division
Director, Center for Surgical Treatment of the Developing Brain and Spine