Neural substrates of motor and cognitive dysfunctions in SCA2 patientsA network based statistics analysis

G. Olivito, M. Cercignani, M. Lupo, C. Iacobacci, S. Clausi, S. Romano, M. Masciullo, M. Molinari, M. Bozzali, M. Leggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive cerebellar syndrome, which can be isolated or associated with extracerebellar signs. It has been shown that patients affected by SCA2 present also cognitive impairments and psychiatric symptoms. The cerebellum is known to modulate cortical activity and to contribute to distinct functional networks related to higher-level functions beyond motor control. It is therefore conceivable that one or more networks, rather than isolated regions, may be dysfunctional in cerebellar degenerative diseases and that an abnormal connectivity within specific cerebello-cortical regions might explain the widespread deficits typically observed in patients. In the present study, the network-based statistics (NBS) approach was used to assess differences in functional connectivity between specific cerebellar and cerebral “nodes” in SCA2 patients. Altered inter-nodal connectivity was found between more posterior regions in the cerebellum and regions in the cerebral cortex clearly related to cognition and emotion. Furthermore, more anterior cerebellar lobules showed altered inter-nodal connectivity with motor and somatosensory cerebral regions. The present data suggest that in SCA2 a cerebellar dysfunction affects long-distance cerebral regions and that the clinical symptoms may be specifically related with connectivity changes between motor and non-motor cerebello-cortical nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-725
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Functional connectivity
  • Nodes
  • Resting-state fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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