Whilst the cerebellum is predominantly considered a sensorimotor control structure, accumulating evidence suggests that it may also subserve non-motor functions during cognition. However, this possibility is not universally accepted, not least because the nature and pattern of links between higher cortical structures and the cerebellum are poorly characterized. We have therefore used in vivo electrophysiological methods in anaesthetized rats to directly investigate connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex (prelimbic subdivision, PrL) and the cerebellum. Stimulation of deep layers of PrL evoked distinct field potentials in the cerebellar cortex with a mean latency to peak of approximately 35 ms. These responses showed a well-defined topography, and were maximal in lobule VII of the contralateral vermis (a known oculomotor centre); they were not attenuated by local anaesthesia of the overlying M2 motor cortex, though M2 stimulation did evoke field potentials in lobule VII with a shorter latency (approximately 30 ms). Single unit recordings showed that prelimbic cortical stimulation elicits complex spikes in lobule VII Purkinje cells, indicating transmission via a previously undescribed cerebro-olivocerebellar pathway. Our results therefore establish a physiological basis for communication between PrL and the cerebellum. The role(s) of this pathway remain to be resolved, but presumably relate to control of eye movements and/or distributed networks associated with integrated prefrontal cortical functions.
prelimbic; climbing fiber; lobule VII; oculomotor; cognition; cerebellum
Anatomical, clinical and imaging findings suggest that the cerebellum is engaged in cognitive and affective functions as well as motor control. Evidence from converging modalities also indicates that there is a functional topography in the human cerebellum for overt control of movement vs. higher functions, such that the cerebellum can be divided into zones depending on connectivity with sensorimotor vs. multimodal association cortices. Using functional MRI, we show that regions active during overt movement differ from those involved in higher-level language, spatial processing and working memory tasks. Nine healthy participants each completed five tasks in order to determine the relative activation patterns for the different paradigms. Right-handed finger-tapping activated right cerebellar lobules IV-V and VIII, consistent with descriptions of the cerebellar homunculi. Verb generation engaged right cerebellar lobules VI-Crus I and a second cluster in lobules VIIB-VIIIA. Mental rotation activation peaks were localized to medial left cerebellar lobule VII (Crus II). A 2-back working memory task activated bilateral regions of lobules VI-VII. Viewing arousing vs. neutral images did not reliably activate the cerebellum or cerebral limbic areas in this study. The cerebellar functional topography identified in this study reflects the involvement of different cerebro-cerebellar circuits depending on the demands of the task being performed: overt movement activated sensorimotor cortices along with contralateral cerebellar lobules IV-VI and VIII, whereas more cognitively demanding tasks engaged prefrontal and parietal cortices along with cerebellar lobules VI and VII. These findings provide further support for a cerebellar role in both motor and cognitive tasks, and better establish the existence of functional subregions in the cerebellum. Future studies are needed to determine the exact contribution of the cerebellum – and different cerebro-cerebellar circuits – to task performance.
cerebellum; functional MRI; cognition; sensorimotor; topography
Although volumetric and activation changes in the cerebellum have frequently been reported in studies on major depression, its role in the neural mechanism of depression remains unclear. To understand how the cerebellum may relate to affective and cognitive dysfunction in depression, we investigated the resting-state functional connectivity between cerebellar regions and the cerebral cortex in samples of patients with geriatric depression (n = 11) and healthy controls (n = 18). Seed-based connectivity analyses were conducted using seeds from cerebellum regions previously identified as being involved in the executive, default-mode, affective-limbic, and motor networks. The results revealed that, compared with controls, individuals with depression show reduced functional connectivity between several cerebellum seed regions, specifically those in the executive and affective-limbic networks with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and increased functional connectivity between the motor-related cerebellum seed regions with the putamen and motor cortex. We further investigated whether the altered functional connectivity in depressed patients was associated with cognitive function and severity of depression. A positive correlation was found between the Crus II–vmPFC connectivity and performance on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised delayed memory recall. Additionally, the vermis–posterior cinglate cortex (PCC) connectivity was positively correlated with depression severity. Our results suggest that cerebellum–vmPFC coupling may be related to cognitive function whereas cerebellum–PCC coupling may be related to emotion processing in geriatric depression.
The inferior parietal lobule (IPL) of the human brain is a heterogeneous region involved in visuospatial attention, memory, and mathematical cognition. Detailed description of connectivity profiles of subdivisions within the IPL is critical for accurate interpretation of functional neuroimaging studies involving this region. We separately examined functional and structural connectivity of the angular gyrus (AG) and the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) using probabilistic cytoarchitectonic maps. Regions-of-interest (ROIs) included anterior and posterior AG subregions (PGa, PGp) and 3 IPS subregions (hIP2, hIP1, and hIP3). Resting-state functional connectivity analyses showed that PGa was more strongly linked to basal ganglia, ventral premotor areas, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, while PGp was more strongly connected with ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and hippocampus—regions comprising the default mode network. The anterior-most IPS ROIs, hIP2 and hIP1, were linked with ventral premotor and middle frontal gyrus, while the posterior-most IPS ROI, hIP3, showed connectivity with extrastriate visual areas. In addition, hIP1 was connected with the insula. Tractography using diffusion tensor imaging revealed structural connectivity between most of these functionally connected regions. Our findings provide evidence for functional heterogeneity of cytoarchitectonically defined subdivisions within IPL and offer a novel framework for synthesis and interpretation of the task-related activations and deactivations involving the IPL during cognition.
attention; Brodmann area 39; default mode network; inferior parietal lobule; mathematical cognition
The underlying functional neuroanatomy of tinnitus remains poorly understood. Few studies have focused on functional cerebral connectivity changes in tinnitus patients. The aim of this study was to test if functional MRI “resting-state” connectivity patterns in auditory network differ between tinnitus patients and normal controls. Thirteen chronic tinnitus subjects and fifteen age-matched healthy controls were studied on a 3 tesla MRI. Connectivity was investigated using independent component analysis and an automated component selection approach taking into account the spatial and temporal properties of each component. Connectivity in extra-auditory regions such as brainstem, basal ganglia/NAc, cerebellum, parahippocampal, right prefrontal, parietal, and sensorimotor areas was found to be increased in tinnitus subjects. The right primary auditory cortex, left prefrontal, left fusiform gyrus, and bilateral occipital regions showed a decreased connectivity in tinnitus. These results show that there is a modification of cortical and subcortical functional connectivity in tinnitus encompassing attentional, mnemonic, and emotional networks. Our data corroborate the hypothesized implication of non-auditory regions in tinnitus physiopathology and suggest that various regions of the brain seem involved in the persistent awareness of the phenomenon as well as in the development of the associated distress leading to disabling chronic tinnitus.
Patients with cerebellar damage often present with the cerebellar motor syndrome of dysmetria, dysarthria and ataxia, yet cerebellar lesions can also result in the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome, including executive, visual-spatial, and linguistic impairments, and affective dysregulation. We have hypothesized that there is topographic organization in the human cerebellum such that the anterior lobe and lobule VIII contain the representation of the sensorimotor cerebellum; lobules VI and VII of the posterior lobe comprise the cognitive cerebellum; and the posterior vermis is the anatomical substrate of the limbic cerebellum. Here we analyze anatomical, functional neuroimaging, and clinical data to test this hypothesis. We find converging lines of evidence supporting regional organization of motor, cognitive, and limbic behaviors in the cerebellum. The cerebellar motor syndrome results when lesions involve the anterior lobe and parts of lobule VI, interrupting cerebellar communication with cerebral and spinal motor systems. Cognitive impairments occur when posterior lobe lesions affect lobules VI and VII (including Crus I, Crus II, and lobule VIIB), disrupting cerebellar modulation of cognitive loops with cerebral association cortices. Neuropsychiatric disorders manifest when vermis lesions deprive cerebrocerebellar limbic loops of cerebellar input. We consider this functional topography to be a consequence of the differential arrangement of connections of the cerebellum with the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebral hemispheres, reflecting cerebellar incorporation into the distributed neural circuits subserving movement, cognition, and emotion. These observations provide testable hypotheses for future investigations.
cognition; motor; limbic; dysmetria; imaging; connections
Motor learning changes the activity of cortical motor and subcortical areas of the brain, but does learning affect sensory systems as well? We examined in humans the effects of motor learning using fMRI measures of functional connectivity under resting conditions, and found persistent changes in networks involving both motor and somatosensory areas of the brain. We developed a technique that allows us to distinguish changes in functional connectivity that can be attributed to motor learning from those that are related to perceptual changes that occur in conjunction with learning. Using this technique, we identified a new network in motor learning involving second somatosensory cortex, ventral premotor cortex and supplementary motor cortex whose activation is specifically related to perceptual changes that occur in conjunction with motor learning. We also found changes in a network comprising cerebellar cortex, primary motor and dorsal premotor cortex that were linked to the motor aspects of learning. In each network, we observed highly reliable linear relationships between neuroplastic changes and behavioral measures of either motor learning or perceptual function. Motor learning thus results in functionally specific changes to distinct resting-state networks in the brain.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the higher-order functions of the cerebellum, including emotion regulation and cognitive processing, and have indicated that the cerebellum should therefore be included in the pathophysiological models of major depressive disorder. The aim of this study was to compare the resting-state functional connectivity of the cerebellum in adults with major depression and healthy controls.
Twenty adults with major depression and 20 gender-, age-, and education-matched controls were investigated using seed-based resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging.
Compared with the controls, depressed patients showed significantly increased functional connectivity between the cerebellum and the temporal poles. However, significantly reduced cerebellar functional connectivity was observed in the patient group in relation to both the default-mode network, mainly including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus, and the executive control network, mainly including the superior frontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex. Moreover, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score was negatively correlated with the functional connectivity between the bilateral Lobule VIIb and the right superior frontal gyrus in depressed patients.
This study demonstrated increased cerebellar coupling with the temporal poles and reduced coupling with the regions in the default-mode and executive control networks in adults with major depression. These differences between patients and controls could be associated with the emotional disturbances and cognitive control function deficits that accompany major depression. Aberrant cerebellar connectivity during major depression may also imply a substantial role for the cerebellum in the pathophysiological models of depression.
Alcohol dependence is associated with neurocognitive deficits related to neuropathological changes in structure, metabolism, and function of the brain. Impairments of motor functioning in alcoholics have been attributed to well-characterized neuropathological brain abnormalities in cerebellum.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we studied in vivo the functional connectivity between cerebellar and cortical brain regions. Participants were 10 uncomplicated chronic alcoholic patients studied after 5–7 days of abstinence when signs of withdrawal had abated, and 10 matched healthy controls. We focused on regions of prefrontal, frontal, temporal, and parietal cortex that exhibited an fMRI response associated with non-dominant hand finger tapping in the patients but not in the controls. We predicted that fronto-cerebellar functional connectivity would be diminished in alcoholics compared to controls.
Functional connectivity in a circuit involving premotor areas (Brodmann Area 6) and Lobule VI of the superior cerebellum was reduced in the patients compared to the controls. Functional connectivity was also reduced in a circuit involving prefrontal cortex (Brodmann Area 9) and Lobule VIII of the inferior cerebellum. Reductions in connectivity were specific to fronto-cerebellar circuits and were not found in other regions examined.
Our findings show a pattern in recently abstinent alcoholic patients of specific deficits in functional connectivity and recruitment of additional brain regions for performance of a simple finger tapping task. A small sample, differences in smoking, and a brief abstinence period preclude definitive conclusions, but this pattern of diminished fronto-cerebellar functional connectivity is highly compatible with the characteristic neuropathological lesions documented in alcoholics, and may reflect brain dysfunction associated with alcoholism.
Alcohol; alcoholism; functional MRI; motor; connectivity
The cerebellum plays a role in a wide variety of complex behaviors. In order to better understand the role of the cerebellum in human behavior, it is important to know how this structure interacts with cortical and other subcortical regions of the brain. To date, several studies have investigated the cerebellum using resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI; Krienen and Buckner, 2009; O'Reilly et al., 2010; Buckner et al., 2011). However, none of this work has taken an anatomically-driven lobular approach. Furthermore, though detailed maps of cerebral cortex and cerebellum networks have been proposed using different network solutions based on the cerebral cortex (Buckner et al., 2011), it remains unknown whether or not an anatomical lobular breakdown best encompasses the networks of the cerebellum. Here, we used fcMRI to create an anatomically-driven connectivity atlas of the cerebellar lobules. Timecourses were extracted from the lobules of the right hemisphere and vermis. We found distinct networks for the individual lobules with a clear division into “motor” and “non-motor” regions. We also used a self-organizing map (SOM) algorithm to parcellate the cerebellum. This allowed us to investigate redundancy and independence of the anatomically identified cerebellar networks. We found that while anatomical boundaries in the anterior cerebellum provide functional subdivisions of a larger motor grouping defined using our SOM algorithm, in the posterior cerebellum, the lobules were made up of sub-regions associated with distinct functional networks. Together, our results indicate that the lobular boundaries of the human cerebellum are not necessarily indicative of functional boundaries, though anatomical divisions can be useful. Additionally, driving the analyses from the cerebellum is key to determining the complete picture of functional connectivity within the structure.
cerebellum; resting state functional connectivity; self-organizing map
Convergent data from various scientific approaches strongly implicate cerebellar systems in non-motor functions. The functional anatomy of these systems has been pieced together from disparate sources such as animal studies, lesion studies in humans, and structural and functional imaging studies in humans. To better define this distinct functional anatomy, in the current study we delineate the role of the cerebellum in several non-motor systems simultaneously and in the same subjects using resting state functional connectivity MRI. Independent component analysis (ICA) was applied to resting state data from two independent datasets to identify common cerebellar contributions to several previously identified intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) involved in executive control, episodic memory/self-reflection, salience detection, and sensorimotor function. We found distinct cerebellar contributions to each of these ICNs. The neocerebellum participates in: 1. the right and left executive control networks (especially crus I and II), 2. the salience network (lobule VI), and 3. the default-mode network (lobule IX). Little to no overlap was detected between these cerebellar regions and the sensorimotor cerebellum (lobules V–VI). Clusters were also located in pontine and dentate nuclei, prominent points of convergence for cerebellar input and output respectively. The results suggest that the most phylogenetically recent part of the cerebellum, particularly crus I and II make contributions to parallel cortico-cerebellar loops involved in executive control, salience detection, and episodic memory/self-reflection. The largest portions of the neocerebellum take part in the executive control network implicated in higher cognitive functions such as working memory.
cerebellum; cerebral cortex; intrinsically connected networks; functional connectivity; resting state; cognition
We examined the connections of posterior parietal cortex (PPC) with motor/premotor cortex (M1/PM) and other cortical areas. Electrical stimulation (500 ms trains) delivered to microelectrode sites evoked movements of reach, defense, and grasp, from distinct zones in M1/PM and PPC, in squirrel and owl monkeys. Tracer injections into M1/PM reach, defense, and grasp zones showed dense connections with M1/PM hand/forelimb representations. The densest inputs outside of frontal cortex were from PPC zones. M1 zones were additionally connected with somatosensory hand/forelimb representations in areas 3a, 3b, and 1 and the somatosensory areas of the upper bank of the lateral sulcus (S2/PV). Injections into PPC zones showed primarily local connections and the densest inputs outside of PPC originated from M1/PM zones. The PPC reach zone also received dense inputs from cortex caudal to PPC, which likely relayed visual information. In contrast, the PPC grasp zone was densely connected with the hand/forelimb representations of areas 3a, 3b, 1, and S2/PV. Thus, the dorsal parietal–frontal network involved in reaching was preferentially connected to visual cortex, whereas the more ventral network involved in grasping received somatosensory inputs. Additional weak interlinks between dissimilar zones (e.g., PPC reach and PPC grasp) were apparent and may coordinate actions.
intracortical electrical stimulation; motor cortex; parietal–frontal network; posterior parietal cortex; premotor cortex; reach and grasp
Multiple, segregated fronto-cerebellar circuits have been characterized in nonhuman primates using transneuronal tracing techniques including those that target prefrontal areas. Here, we used functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) in humans (n = 40) to identify 4 topographically distinct fronto-cerebellar circuits that target 1) motor cortex, 2) dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, 3) medial prefrontal cortex, and 4) anterior prefrontal cortex. All 4 circuits were replicated and dissociated in an independent data set (n = 40). Direct comparison of right- and left-seeded frontal regions revealed contralateral lateralization in the cerebellum for each of the segregated circuits. The presence of circuits that involve prefrontal regions confirms that the cerebellum participates in networks important to cognition including a specific fronto-cerebellar circuit that interacts with the default network. Overall, the extent of the cerebellum associated with prefrontal cortex included a large portion of the posterior hemispheres consistent with a prominent role of the cerebellum in nonmotor functions. We conclude by providing a provisional map of the topography of the cerebellum based on functional correlations with the frontal cortex.
cerebellum; cognition; fMRI; pontine nucleus; prefrontal cortex; thalamus
The pulvinar is an 'associative' thalamic nucleus, meaning that most of its input and output relationships are formed with the cerebral cortex. The function of this circuitry is little understood and its anatomy, though much investigated, is notably recondite. This is because pulvinar connection patterns disrespect the architectural subunits (anterior, medial, lateral and inferior pulvinar nuclei) that have been the traditional reference system. This article presents a simplified, global model of the organization of cortico-pulvinar connections so as to pursue their structure-function relationships. Connections between the cortex and pulvinar are topographically organized, and as a result the pulvinar contains a 'map' of the cortical sheet. However, the topography is very blurred. Hence the pulvinar connection zones of nearby cortical areas overlap, allowing indirect transcortical communication via the pulvinar. A general observation is that indirect cortico-pulvino-cortical circuits tend to mimic direct cortico-cortical pathways: this is termed 'the replication principle'. It is equally apt for certain pairs (or groups) of nearby cortical areas that happen not to connect with each other. The 'replication' of this non-connection is achieved by discontinuities and dislocations of the cortical topography within the pulvinar, such that the associated pair of connection zones do not overlap. Certain of these deformations can be used to divide the global cortical topography into specific sub-domains, which form the natural units of a connectional subdivision of the pulvinar. A substantial part of the pulvinar also expresses visual topography, reflecting visual maps in occipital cortex. There are just two well-ordered visual maps in the pulvinar, that both receive projections from area V1, and several other occipital areas; the resulting duplication of cortical topography means that each visual map also acts as a separate connection domain. In summary, the model identifies four topographically ordered connection domains, and reconciles the coexistence of visual and cortical maps in two of them. The replication principle operates at and below the level of domain structure. It is argued that cortico-pulvinar circuitry replicates the pattern of cortical circuitry but not its function, playing a more regulatory role instead. Thalamic neurons differ from cortical neurons in their inherent rhythmicity, and the pattern of cortico-thalamic connections must govern the formation of specific resonant circuits. The broad implication is that the pulvinar acts to coordinate cortical information processing by facilitating and sustaining the formation of synchronized trans-areal assemblies; a more pointed suggestion is that, owing to the considerable blurring of cortical topography in the pulvinar, rival cortical assemblies may be in competition to recruit thalamic elements in order to outlast each other in activity.
Objectives: This study investigated the applicability of statistical parametric mapping (SPM) for analysing individual preoperative brain mapping studies in patients with cerebral mass lesions for neurosurgical planning. The study further investigated if hints on functional reorganisation processes can be found.
Methods: Nine adult patients with cerebral mass lesions underwent activation [15O]water-PET under stimulation by finger (n=9) and foot (n=4) movement. Individual SPM-t-maps were computed without anatomical normalisation and coregistered to the individual magnetic resonance imaging. Relative cerebral blood flow change maps were calculated for comparison.
Results: The spatial relation between the sensorimotor cortex and the lesion could be determined in all cases. Additional activations covered the ipsilateral sensorimotor cortex and the bilateral cerebellum, premotor cortices and supplementary motor areas. Patients with motor symptoms of the stimulated hand (paresis, focal seizures) activated the ipsilateral premotor cortices and contralateral cerebellum more often than patients without motor symptoms. The SPM results for p<0.005 and cerebral blood flow change maps showed considerably overlapping motor area activations. For p<0.001, SPM missed three sensorimotor cortex activations depicted by cerebral blood flow change maps and by SPM for p<0.005 in typical localisation. SPM analyses showed less activations probably unrelated to task performance.
Conclusion: It is concluded that SPM provides an efficient method for analysing individual preoperative PET activation studies. Activations of the ipsilateral premotor cortices and contralateral cerebellum may indicate an enhanced recruitment of ipsilateral motor pathways evoked by functional reorganisation processes. However, this changed activation pattern was not necessarily associated with a better neurological status.
The cortical underconnectivity theory asserts that reduced long-range functional connectivity might contribute to a neural mechanism for autism. We examined resting-state blood oxygen level–dependent interhemispheric correlation in 53 males with high-functioning autism and 39 typically developing males from late childhood through early adulthood. By constructing spatial maps of correlation between homologous voxels in each hemisphere, we found significantly reduced interhemispheric correlation specific to regions with functional relevance to autism: sensorimotor cortex, anterior insula, fusiform gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and superior parietal lobule. Observed interhemispheric connectivity differences were better explained by diagnosis of autism than by potentially confounding neuropsychological metrics of language, IQ, or handedness. Although both corpus callosal volume and gray matter interhemispheric connectivity were significantly reduced in autism, no direct relationship was observed between them, suggesting that structural and functional metrics measure different aspects of interhemispheric connectivity. In the control but not the autism sample, there was decreasing interhemispheric correlation with subject age. Greater differences in interhemispheric correlation were seen for more lateral regions in the brain. These findings suggest that long-range connectivity abnormalities in autism are spatially heterogeneous and that transcallosal connectivity is decreased most in regions with functions associated with behavioral abnormalities in autism. Autism subjects continue to show developmental differences in interhemispheric connectivity into early adulthood.
autism spectrum disorders; brain development; fcMRI; fMRI; resting state fMRI
Resting state connectivity aims to identify spontaneous cerebral hemodynamic fluctuations that reflect neuronal activity at rest. In this study, we investigated the spatial-temporal correlation of hemoglobin concentration signals over the whole head during the resting state. By choosing a source-detector pair as a seed, we calculated the correlation value between its time course and the time course of all other source-detector combinations, and projected them onto a topographic map. In all subjects, we found robust spatial interactions in agreement with previous fMRI and NIRS findings. Strong correlations between the two opposite hemispheres were seen for both sensorimotor and visual cortices. Correlations in the prefrontal cortex were more heterogeneous and dependent on the hemodynamic contrast. HbT provided robust, well defined maps, suggesting that this contrast may be used to better localize functional connectivity. The effects of global systemic physiology were also investigated, particularly low frequency blood pressure oscillations which give rise to broad regions of high correlation and mislead interpretation of the results. These results confirm the feasibility of using functional connectivity with optical methods during the resting state, and validate its use to investigate cortical interactions across the whole head.
(170.2655) Functional monitoring and imaging; (170.5380) Physiology; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging
The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest commissural white matter tract in mammalian brains, connecting homotopic and heterotopic regions of the cerebral cortex. Knowledge of the distribution of callosal fibers projecting into specific cortical regions has important implications for understanding the evolution of lateralized structures and functions of the cerebral cortex. No comparisons of CC topography in humans and great apes have yet been conducted. We investigated the topography of the CC in 21 chimpanzees using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Tractography was conducted based on fiber assignment by continuous tracking (FACT) algorithm. We expected chimpanzees to display topographical organization similar to humans, especially concerning projections into the frontal cortical regions. Similar to recent studies in humans, tractography identified five clusters of CC fibers projecting into defined cortical regions: prefrontal; premotor and supplementary motor; motor; sensory; parietal, temporal and occipital. Significant differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) were found in callosal regions, with highest FA values in regions projecting to higher-association areas of posterior cortical (including parietal, temporal and occipital cortices) and prefrontal cortical regions (p<0.001). The lowest FA values were seen in regions projecting into motor and sensory cortical areas. Our results indicate chimpanzees display similar topography of the CC as humans, in terms of distribution of callosal projections and microstructure of fibers as determined by anisotropy measures.
Despite the prominence of parietal activity in human neuromaging investigations of sensorimotor and cognitive processes there remains uncertainty about basic aspects of parietal cortical anatomical organization. Descriptions of human parietal cortex draw heavily on anatomical schemes developed in other primate species but the validity of such comparisons has been questioned by claims that there are fundamental differences between the parietal cortex in humans and other primates. A scheme is presented for parcellation of human lateral parietal cortex into component regions on the basis of anatomical connectivity and the functional interactions of the resulting clusters with other brain regions. Anatomical connectivity was estimated using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance image (MRI) based tractography and functional interactions were assessed by correlations in activity measured with functional MRI (fMRI) at rest. Resting state functional connectivity was also assessed directly in the rhesus macaque lateral parietal cortex in an additional experiment and the patterns found reflected known neuroanatomical connections. Cross-correlation in the tractography-based connectivity patterns of parietal voxels reliably parcellated human lateral parietal cortex into ten component clusters. The resting state functional connectivity of human superior parietal and intraparietal clusters with frontal and extrastriate cortex suggested correspondences with areas in macaque superior and intraparietal sulcus. Functional connectivity patterns with parahippocampal cortex and premotor cortex again suggested fundamental correspondences between inferior parietal cortex in humans and macaques. In contrast, the human parietal cortex differs in the strength of its interactions between the central inferior parietal lobule region and the anterior prefrontal cortex.
AIP; MIP; LIP; VIP; IPL; SPL
Structurally segregated and functionally specialized regions of the human cerebral cortex are interconnected by a dense network of cortico-cortical axonal pathways. By using diffusion spectrum imaging, we noninvasively mapped these pathways within and across cortical hemispheres in individual human participants. An analysis of the resulting large-scale structural brain networks reveals a structural core within posterior medial and parietal cerebral cortex, as well as several distinct temporal and frontal modules. Brain regions within the structural core share high degree, strength, and betweenness centrality, and they constitute connector hubs that link all major structural modules. The structural core contains brain regions that form the posterior components of the human default network. Looking both within and outside of core regions, we observed a substantial correspondence between structural connectivity and resting-state functional connectivity measured in the same participants. The spatial and topological centrality of the core within cortex suggests an important role in functional integration.
In the human brain, neural activation patterns are shaped by the underlying structural connections that form a dense network of fiber pathways linking all regions of the cerebral cortex. Using diffusion imaging techniques, which allow the noninvasive mapping of fiber pathways, we constructed connection maps covering the entire cortical surface. Computational analyses of the resulting complex brain network reveal regions of cortex that are highly connected and highly central, forming a structural core of the human brain. Key components of the core are portions of posterior medial cortex that are known to be highly activated at rest, when the brain is not engaged in a cognitively demanding task. Because we were interested in how brain structure relates to brain function, we also recorded brain activation patterns from the same participant group. We found that structural connection patterns and functional interactions between regions of cortex were significantly correlated. Based on our findings, we suggest that the structural core of the brain may have a central role in integrating information across functionally segregated brain regions.
Mapping of major structural connections of the human cortex reveals a core of brain regions that are highly interconnected and highly central with respect to the rest of the brain.
The excitability of the motor cortex to magnetic stimulation was evaluated in seven patients with cerebellar lesions (six patients with a unilateral lesion) and in 20 control subjects. Magnetic motor threshold was defined at rest. In all but one of the patients with a hemicerebellar lesion the threshold was higher in the motor cortex contralateral to the impaired hemicerebellum and the right/left threshold asymmetry was clearly greater than normal. In the patient with a lesion involving both cerebellar hemispheres the magnetic threshold was above the normal limit on both sides. The latencies of motor responses were normal in all patients. This increase in the magnetic threshold of the motor cortex functionally related to the impaired hemicerebellum suggests the existence of a facilitating tonic action of the cerebellum on central motor circuits that might act at the cortical, or spinal level, or both.
The mesial premotor cortex (pre-supplementary motor area and supplementary motor area proper), lateral premotor cortex (dorsal premotor cortex and ventral premotor cortex), and primary sensorimotor cortex (primary motor cortex and primary somatosensory cortex) have been identified as key cortical areas for sensorimotor function. However, the three-dimensional (3-D) anatomic boundaries between these regions remain unclear. In order to clarify the locations and boundaries for these six sensorimotor regions, we surveyed 126 articles describing pre-supplementary motor area, supplementary motor area proper, dorsal premotor cortex, ventral premotor cortex, primary motor cortex, and primary somatosensory cortex. Using strict inclusion criteria, we recorded the reported normalized stereotaxic coordinates (Talairach and Tournoux or MNI) from each experiment. We then computed the probability distributions describing the likelihood of activation, and characterized the shape, extent, and area of each sensorimotor region in 3-D. Additionally, we evaluated the nature of the overlap between the six sensorimotor regions. Using the findings from this meta-analysis, along with suggestions and guidelines of previous researchers, we developed the Human Motor Area Template (HMAT) that can be used for ROI analysis.
Supplementary motor area; Primary motor cortex; Premotor cortex; Regions of interest; Sensorimotor
The nodes of a parietal-frontal pathway that mediates grasping in primates are in anterior intraparietal area (AIP) and ventral premotor cortex (PMv). Nevertheless, multiple somatosensory and motor representations of the hand, respectively in parietal and frontal cortex, suggest that additional pathways remain unrealized. We explored this possibility in macaque monkeys by injecting retrograde tracers into grasp zones identified in M1, PMv, and area 2 with long train electrical stimulation. The M1 grasp zone was densely connected with other frontal cortex motor regions. The remainder of the connections originated from somatosensory areas 3a and S2/PV, and from the medial bank and fundus of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). The PMv grasp zone was also densely connected with frontal cortex motor regions, albeit to a lesser extent than the M1 grasp zone. The remainder of the connections originated from areas S2/PV and aspects of the inferior parietal lobe such as PF, PFG, AIP, and the tip of the IPS. The area 2 grasp zone was densely connected with the hand representations of somatosensory areas 3b, 1, and S2/PV. The remainder of the connections was with areas 3a and 5 and the medial bank and fundus of the IPS. Connections with frontal cortex were relatively weak and concentrated in caudal M1. Thus, the three grasp zones may be nodes of parallel parietal-frontal pathways. Differential points of origin and termination of each pathway suggest varying functional specializations. Direct and indirect connections between those parietal-frontal pathways likely coordinate their respective functions into an accurate grasp.
The cerebellum is a crucial structure involved in movement control and cognitive processing. Non-invasive stimulation of the cerebellum results in neurophysiological and behavioral changes, an effect that has been attributed to modulation of cerebello–brain connectivity. At rest, the cerebellum exerts an overall inhibitory tone over the primary motor cortex (M1), cerebello-brain inhibition (CBI), likely through dentate-thalamo-cortical connections. The level of excitability of this pathway before and after stimulation of the cerebellum, however, has not been directly investigated. In this study we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to determine changes in M1, brainstem and CBI before and after 25 minutes of anodal, cathodal or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the right cerebellar cortex. We hypothesized that anodal tDCS would result in an enhancement of CBI and cathodal would decrease it, relative to sham stimulation. We found that cathodal tDCS resulted in a clear decrease of CBI, whereas anodal tDCS increased it, in the absence of changes after sham stimulation. These effects were specific to the cerebello-cortical connections with no changes in other M1 or brainstem excitability measures. The cathodal effect on CBI was found to be dependent on stimulation intensity and lasted up to 30 minutes after the cessation of tDCS. These results suggest that tDCS can modulate in a focal and polarity-specific manner cerebellar excitability, likely through changes in Purkinje cell activity. Therefore, direct current stimulation of the cerebellum may have significant potential implications for patients with cerebellar dysfunction as well as to motor control studies.
brainstem; cerebellum; motor cortex; plasticity; Purkinje cell; reticular
Functional connectivity (FC) analyses of resting-state fMRI data allow for the mapping of large-scale functional networks, and provide a novel means of examining the impact of dopaminergic challenge. Here, using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design, we examined the effect of L-dopa, a dopamine precursor, on striatal resting-state FC in 19 healthy young adults. We examined the FC of 6 striatal regions-of-interest previously shown to elicit networks known to be associated with motivational, cognitive and motor subdivisions of the caudate and putamen (Di Martino et al., Cerebral Cortex, 2008). In addition to replicating the previously demonstrated patterns of striatal FC, we observed robust effects of L-dopa. Specifically, L-dopa increased FC in motor pathways connecting the putamen ROIs with the cerebellum and brainstem. While L-dopa also increased FC between the inferior ventral striatum and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, it disrupted ventral striatal and dorsal caudate FC with the default mode network. These alterations in FC are consistent with studies that have demonstrated dopaminergic modulation of cognitive and motor striatal networks in healthy participants. Recent studies have demonstrated altered resting state FC in several conditions believed to be characterized by abnormal dopaminergic neurotransmission. Our findings suggest that the application of similar experimental pharmacological manipulations in such populations may further our understanding of the role of dopaminergic neurotransmission in those conditions.
L-dopa; dopamine; functional connectivity; striatum; default mode; cerebellum