Cauda equina syndrome
Judita Orendáová, Dásˇa Ã*ková, Jozef Kafka, Nadeda Lukáová, Martin Marsˇala, Igor ulla, Jozef Marsˇala and Nobuo Katsube
Progress in Neurobiology, 2001, 64:6:613 - 637

Manuscript received 14 September 2000;

Single or double-level compression of the lumbosacral nerve roots located in the dural sac results in a polyradicular symptomatology clinically diagnosed as cauda equina syndrome. The cauda equina nerve roots provide the sensory and motor innervation of most of the lower extremities, the pelvic floor and the sphincters. Therefore, in a fully developed cauda equina syndrome, multiple signs of sensory disorders may appear. These disorders include low-back pain, saddle anesthesia, bilateral sciatica, then motor weakness of the lower extremities or chronic paraplegia and, bladder dysfunction. Multiple etiologies can cause the cauda equina syndrome. Among them, non-neoplastic compressive etiologies such as herniated lumbosacral discs and spinal stenosis and spinal neoplasms play a significant role in the development of the cauda equina syndrome. Non-compressive etiologies of the cauda equina syndrome include ischemic insults, inflammatory conditions, spinal arachnoiditis and other infectious etiologies. The use of canine, porcine and rat models mimicking the cauda equina syndrome enabled discovery of the effects of the compression on nerve root neural and vascular anatomy, the impairment of impulse propagation and the changes of the neurotransmitters in the spinal cord after compression of cauda equina. The involvement of intrinsic spinal cord neurons in the compression-induced cauda equina syndrome includes anterograde, retrograde and transneuronal degeneration in the lumbosacral segments. Prominent changes of NADPH diaphorase exhibiting, Fos-like immunoreactive and heat shock protein HSP72 were detected in the lumbosacral segments in a short-and long-lasting compression of the cauda equina in the dog. Developments in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with back pain, sciatica and with a herniated lumbar disc are mentioned, including many treatment options available.