Contralateral cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways with prominent involvement of associative areas in humans in vivo

Fulvia Palesi, Jacques Donald Tournier, Fernando Calamante, Nils Muhlert, Gloria Castellazzi, Declan Chard, Egidio D’Angelo, Claudia A M Wheeler-Kingshott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In addition to motor functions, it has become clear that in humans the cerebellum plays a significant role in cognition too, through connections with associative areas in the cerebral cortex. Classical anatomy indicates that neo-cerebellar regions are connected with the contralateral cerebral cortex through the dentate nucleus, superior cerebellar peduncle, red nucleus and ventrolateral anterior nucleus of the thalamus. The anatomical existence of these connections has been demonstrated using virus retrograde transport techniques in monkeys and rats ex vivo. In this study, using advanced diffusion MRI tractography we show that it is possible to calculate streamlines to reconstruct the pathway connecting the cerebellar cortex with contralateral cerebral cortex in humans in vivo. Corresponding areas of the cerebellar and cerebral cortex encompassed similar proportion (about 80 %) of the tract, suggesting that the majority of streamlines passing through the superior cerebellar peduncle connect the cerebellar hemispheres through the ventrolateral thalamus with contralateral associative areas. This result demonstrates that this kind of tractography is a useful tool to map connections between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex and moreover could be used to support specific theories about the abnormal communication along these pathways in cognitive dysfunctions in pathologies ranging from dyslexia to autism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3369-3384
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume220
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 2014

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Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Diffusion MRI
  • MRI tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Histology

Cite this

Palesi, F., Tournier, J. D., Calamante, F., Muhlert, N., Castellazzi, G., Chard, D., D’Angelo, E., & Wheeler-Kingshott, C. A. M. (2014). Contralateral cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways with prominent involvement of associative areas in humans in vivo. Brain Structure and Function, 220(6), 3369-3384. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-014-0861-2