Viscoelastic properties of human cerebellum using magnetic resonance elastography

John Zhang, Michael A Green, Ralph Sinkus, Lynne E Bilston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The cerebellum has never been mechanically characterised, despite its physiological importance in the control of motion and the clinical prevalence of cerebellar pathologies. The aim of this study was to measure the linear viscoelastic properties of the cerebellum in human volunteers using Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE).

METHODS: Coronal plane brain 3D MRE data was performed on eight healthy adult volunteers, at 80 Hz, to compare the properties of cerebral and cerebellar tissues. The linear viscoelastic storage (G') and loss moduli (G″) were estimated from the MRE wave images by solving the wave equation for propagation through an isotropic linear viscoelastic solid. Contributions of the compressional wave were removed via application of the curl-operator.

RESULTS: The storage modulus for the cerebellum was found to be significantly lower than that for the cerebrum, for both white and grey matter. Cerebrum: white matter (mean±SD) G'=2.41±0.23 kPa, grey matter G'=2.34±0.22 kPa; cerebellum: white matter, G'=1.85±0.18 kPa, grey matter G'=1.77±0.24 kPa; cerebrum vs cerebellum, p<0.001. For the viscous behaviour, there were differences in between regions and also by tissue type, with the white matter being more viscous than grey matter and the cerebrum more viscous than the cerebellum. Cerebrum: white matter G″=1.21±0.21 kPa, grey matter G″=1.11±0.03 kPa; cerebellum: white matter G″=1.1±0.23 kPa, grey matter G″=0.94±0.17 kPa.

DISCUSSION: These data represent the first available data on the viscoelastic properties of cerebellum, which suggest that the cerebellum is less physically stiff than the cerebrum, possibly leading to a different response to mechanical loading. These data will be useful for modelling of the cerebellum for a range of purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1913
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2011


  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Cerebellum
  • Elasticity
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Oscillometry
  • Pressure
  • Shear Strength
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Viscosity


Dive into the research topics of 'Viscoelastic properties of human cerebellum using magnetic resonance elastography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this