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Contralateral cortico-ponto-cerebellar pathways reconstruction in humans in vivo: Implications for reciprocal cerebro-cerebellar structural connectivity in motor and non-motor areas

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Fulvia Palesi, Andrea De Rinaldis, Gloria Castellazzi, Fernando Calamante, Nils Muhlert, Declan Chard, J. Donald Tournier, Giovanni Magenes, Egidio D'Angelo, Claudia A.M.Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott

Original languageEnglish
Article number12841
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date9 Oct 2017
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


King's Authors


Cerebellar involvement in cognition, as well as in sensorimotor control, is increasingly recognized and is thought to depend on connections with the cerebral cortex. Anatomical investigations in animals and post-mortem humans have established that cerebro-cerebellar connections are contralateral to each other and include the cerebello-thalamo-cortical (CTC) and cortico-ponto-cerebellar (CPC) pathways. CTC and CPC characterization in humans in vivo is still challenging. Here advanced tractography was combined with quantitative indices to compare CPC to CTC pathways in healthy subjects. Differently to previous studies, our findings reveal that cerebellar cognitive areas are reached by the largest proportion of the reconstructed CPC, supporting the hypothesis that a CTC-CPC loop provides a substrate for cerebro-cerebellar communication during cognitive processing. Amongst the cerebral areas identified using in vivo tractography, in addition to the cerebral motor cortex, major portions of CPC streamlines leave the prefrontal and temporal cortices. These findings are useful since provide MRI-based indications of possible subtending connectivity and, if confirmed, they are going to be a milestone for instructing computational models of brain function. These results, together with further multi-modal investigations, are warranted to provide important cues on how the cerebro-cerebellar loops operate and on how pathologies involving cerebro-cerebellar connectivity are generated.

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