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1.  Functional topography of the cerebellum for motor and cognitive tasks: an fMRI study 
NeuroImage  2011;59(2):1560-1570.
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.
PMCID: PMC3230671  PMID: 21907811
cerebellum; functional MRI; cognition; sensorimotor; topography
2.  Altered Functional Connectivity of Cognitive-Related Cerebellar Subregions in Well-Recovered Stroke Patients 
Neural Plasticity  2013;2013:452439.
The cerebellum contains several cognitive-related subregions that are involved in different functional networks. The cerebellar crus II is correlated with the frontoparietal network (FPN), whereas the cerebellar IX is associated with the default-mode network (DMN). These two networks are anticorrelated and cooperatively implicated in cognitive control, which may facilitate the motor recovery in stroke patients. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) changes in 25 subcortical ischemic stroke patients with well-recovered global motor function. Consistent with previous studies, the crus II was correlated with the FPN, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and posterior parietal cortex, and the cerebellar IX was correlated with the DMN, including the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus (PCC/Pcu), medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), DLPFC, lateral parietal cortices, and anterior temporal cortices. No significantly increased rsFCs of these cerebellar subregions were found in stroke patients, suggesting that the rsFCs of the cognitive-related cerebellar subregions are not the critical factors contributing to the recovery of motor function in stroke patients. The finding of the disconnection in the cerebellar-related cognitive control networks may possibly explain the deficits in cognitive control function even in stroke patients with well-recovered global motor function.
PMCID: PMC3703724  PMID: 23862075
3.  Resting state cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity networks: a comparison of anatomical and self-organizing map approaches 
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.
PMCID: PMC3415673  PMID: 22907994
cerebellum; resting state functional connectivity; self-organizing map
4.  Thalamocortical dysconnectivity in schizophrenia 
The American journal of psychiatry  2012;169(10):10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12010056.
The thalamus and cerebral cortex are connected via topographically organized, reciprocal connections. Previous studies revealed thalamic abnormalities in schizophrenia; however, it is not known if thalamocortical networks are differentially affected in the disorder. To explore this possibility, we examined functional connectivity in intrinsic low frequency blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal fluctuations between major divisions of the cortex and thalamus using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging.
77 healthy subjects and 62 patients with schizophrenia underwent resting-state fMRI. To identify functional subdivisions of the thalamus, we parceled the cortex into six regions-of-interest; prefrontal, motor, somatosensory, temporal, posterior parietal, and occipital cortex. Mean BOLD time-series was extracted from each of the regions-of-interest and entered into a seed-based functional connectivity analysis.
Consistent with prior reports, activity in distinct cortical areas correlated with specific, largely non-overlapping regions of the thalamus in both healthy subjects and schizophrenia patients. Direct comparison between groups revealed reduced prefrontal-thalamic connectivity and increased motor/somatosensory-thalamic connectivity in schizophrenia. The changes in connectivity were unrelated to local grey matter content within the thalamus and antipsychotic medication dosage. No differences were observed in temporal, posterior parietal, and occipital cortex connectivity with the thalamus.
This study establishes differential abnormalities of thalamocortical networks in schizophrenia. The etiology of schizophrenia may disrupt the development of prefrontal-thalamic connectivity and refinement of somatomotor connectivity with the thalamus that occurs during brain maturation.
PMCID: PMC3810300  PMID: 23032387
Schizophrenia; Resting-state fMRI; Functional Connectivity; Thalamus; Cortex
5.  Distinct Parietal and Temporal Pathways to the Homologues of Broca's Area in the Monkey 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(8):e1000170.
An unprecedented detailed analysis of ventrolateral frontal cortical circuitry in Broca's area of the non-human primate brain clarifies the functional pathways permitting interaction between posterior cortical areas and the anterior language zone, providing important clues about the evolution of language.
The homologues of the two distinct architectonic areas 44 and 45 that constitute the anterior language zone (Broca's region) in the human ventrolateral frontal lobe were recently established in the macaque monkey. Although we know that the inferior parietal lobule and the lateral temporal cortical region project to the ventrolateral frontal cortex, we do not know which of the several cortical areas found in those regions project to the homologues of Broca's region in the macaque monkey and by means of which white matter pathways. We have used the autoradiographic method, which permits the establishment of the cortical area from which axons originate (i.e., the site of injection), the precise course of the axons in the white matter, and their termination within particular cortical areas, to examine the parietal and temporal connections to area 44 and the two subdivisions of area 45 (i.e., areas 45A and 45B). The results demonstrated a ventral temporo-frontal stream of fibers that originate from various auditory, multisensory, and visual association cortical areas in the intermediate superolateral temporal region. These axons course via the extreme capsule and target most strongly area 45 with a more modest termination in area 44. By contrast, a dorsal stream of axons that originate from various cortical areas in the inferior parietal lobule and the adjacent caudal superior temporal sulcus was found to target both areas 44 and 45. These axons course in the superior longitudinal fasciculus, with some axons originating from the ventral inferior parietal lobule and the adjacent superior temporal sulcus arching and forming a simple arcuate fasciculus. The cortex of the most rostral part of the inferior parietal lobule is preferentially linked with the ventral premotor cortex (ventral area 6) that controls the orofacial musculature. The cortex of the intermediate part of the inferior parietal lobule is linked with both areas 44 and 45. These findings demonstrate the posterior parietal and temporal connections of the ventrolateral frontal areas, which, in the left hemisphere of the human brain, were adapted for various aspects of language production. These precursor circuits that are found in the nonlinguistic, nonhuman, primate brain also exist in the human brain. The possible reasons why these areas were adapted for language use in the human brain are discussed. The results throw new light on the prelinguistic precursor circuitry of Broca's region and help understand functional interactions between Broca's ventrolateral frontal region and posterior parietal and temporal association areas.
Author Summary
Two distinct cortical areas in the frontal lobe of the human brain, known as Broca's region, are involved with language production. This region has also been shown to exist in nonhuman primates. In this study, we explored the precise neural connectivity of Broca's region in macaque monkeys using the autoradiographic method to achieve a level of detail impossible in the human brain. We identified two major streams of connections feeding into Broca's area: a ventral stream from the temporal region, which includes areas processing auditory, multisensory, and visual information and a dorsal stream originating from the inferior parietal lobule and the adjacent superior temporal sulcus. Our detailed connectivity analysis illuminates the pathways via which posterior cortical areas can interact functionally with Broca's region, in addition to contributing to an understanding of the evolution of language. We suggest that a fundamental function of Broca's region is to retrieve information in a controlled strategic way from posterior cortical regions and to translate this information into action. This fundamental function was adapted during evolution of the left hemisphere of the human brain to serve language.
PMCID: PMC2714989  PMID: 19668354
6.  Across-study and within-subject functional connectivity of a right temporo-parietal junction subregion involved in stimulus–context integration 
Neuroimage  2012;60(4):2389-2398.
Bidirectional integration between sensory stimuli and contextual framing is fundamental to action control. Stimuli may entail context-dependent actions, while temporal or spatial characteristics of a stimulus train may establish a contextual framework for upcoming stimuli. Here we aimed at identifying core areas for stimulus–context integration and delineated their functional connectivity (FC) using meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) and analysis of resting-state networks. In a multi-study conjunction, consistently increased activity under higher demands on stimulus–context integration was predominantly found in the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), which represented the largest cluster of overlap and was thus used as the seed for the functional connectivity analyses. The conjunction between task-dependent (MACM) and task-free (resting state) FC of the right TPJ revealed a shared network comprising bilaterally inferior parietal and frontal cortices, anterior insula, premotor cortex, putamen and cerebellum, i.e., a ‘ventral’ action / attention network. Stronger task-dependent (vs. task-free) connectivity was observed with the pre-SMA, dorsal pre-motor cortex, intraparietal sulcus, basal ganglia and primary sensory-motor cortex, while stronger resting-state (vs. task-dependent) connectivity was found with the dorsolateral prefrontal and medial parietal cortex.
Our data provide strong evidence that the right TPJ may represent a key region for the integration of sensory stimuli and contextual frames in action control. Task-dependent associations with regions related to stimulus processing and motor responses indicate that the right TPJ may integrate ‘collaterals’ of sensory processing and apply (ensuing) contextual frames, most likely via modulation of preparatory loops. Given the pattern of resting-state connectivity, internal states and goal representations may provide the substrates for the contextual integration within the TPJ in the absence of a specific task.
PMCID: PMC3321133  PMID: 22387170
fMRI; resting state; meta-analysis; connectivity modelling; right temporo-parietal junction
7.  Mapping Small-World Properties through Development in the Human Brain: Disruption in Schizophrenia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e96176.
Evidence from imaging studies suggests that the human brain has a small-world network topology that might be disrupted in certain brain disorders. However, current methodology is based on global graph theory measures, such as clustering, C, characteristic path length, L, and small-worldness, S, that lack spatial specificity and are insufficient to identify regional brain abnormalities. Here we propose novel ultra-fast methodology for mapping local properties of brain network topology such as local C, L and S (lC, lL and lS) in the human brain at 3-mm isotropic resolution from ‘resting-state’ magnetic resonance imaging data. Test-retest datasets from 40 healthy children/adolescents were used to demonstrate the overall good reliability of the measures across sessions and computational parameters (intraclass correlation > 0.5 for lC and lL) and their low variability across subjects (< 29%). Whereas regions with high local functional connectivity density (lFCD; local degree) in posterior parietal and occipital cortices demonstrated high lC and short lL, subcortical regions (globus pallidus, thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala), cerebellum (lobes and vermis), cingulum and temporal cortex also had high, lS, demonstrating stronger small-world topology than other hubs. Children/adolescents had stronger lFCD, higher lC and longer lL in most cortical regions and thalamus than 74 healthy adults, consistent with pruning of functional connectivity during maturation. In contrast, lFCD, lC and lL were weaker in thalamus and midbrain, and lL was shorter in frontal cortical regions and cerebellum for 69 schizophrenia patients than for 74 healthy controls, suggesting exaggerated pruning of connectivity in schizophrenia. Follow up correlation analyses for seeds in thalamus and midbrain uncovered lower positive connectivity of these regions in thalamus, putamen, cerebellum and frontal cortex (cingulum, orbitofrontal, inferior frontal) and lower negative connectivity in auditory, visual, motor, premotor and somatosensory cortices for schizophrenia patients than for controls, consistent with prior findings of thalamic disconnection in schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC4005771  PMID: 24788815
8.  Organization of the Posterior Parietal Cortex in Galagos: II. Ipsilateral Cortical Connections of Physiologically Identified Zones Within Anterior Sensorimotor Region 
We studied cortical connections of functionally distinct movement zones of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in galagos identified by intracortical microstimulation with long stimulus trains (~500 msec). All these zones were in the anterior half of PPC, and each of them had a different pattern of connections with premotor (PM) and motor (M1) areas of the frontal lobe and with other areas of parietal and occipital cortex. The most rostral PPC zone has major connections with motor and visuomotor areas of frontal cortex as well as with somatosensory areas 3a and 1-2 and higher order somatosensory areas in the lateral sulcus. The dorsal part of anterior PPC region representing hand-to-mouth movements is connected mostly to the forelimb representation in PM, M1, 3a, 1-2, and somatosensory areas in the lateral sulcus and on the medial wall. The more posterior defensive and reaching zones have additional connections with nonprimary visual areas (V2, V3, DL, DM, MST). Ventral aggressive and defensive face zones have reciprocal connections with each other as well as connections with mostly face, but also forelimb representations of premotor areas and M1 as well as prefrontal cortex, FEF, and somatosensory areas in the lateral sulcus and areas on the medial surface of the hemisphere. Whereas the defensive face zone is additionally connected to nonprimary visual cortical areas, the aggressive face zone is not. These differences in connections are consistent with our functional parcellation of PPC based on intracortical long-train microstimulation, and they identify parts of cortical networks that mediate different motor behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3697787  PMID: 19844952
intraparietal cortex; motor areas; somatosensory cortex; visual cortex; movement; behavior
9.  Reduced fronto-cerebellar functional connectivity in chronic alcoholic patients 
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.
PMCID: PMC3268944  PMID: 22085135
Alcohol; alcoholism; functional MRI; motor; connectivity
10.  Functional Connectivity in Tactile Object Discrimination—A Principal Component Analysis of an Event Related fMRI-Study 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3831.
Tactile object discrimination is an essential human skill that relies on functional connectivity between the neural substrates of motor, somatosensory and supramodal areas. From a theoretical point of view, such distributed networks elude categorical analysis because subtraction methods are univariate. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify the neural networks involved in somatosensory object discrimination using a voxel-based principal component analysis (PCA) of event-related functional magnetic resonance images.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Seven healthy, right-handed subjects aged between 22 and 44 years were required to discriminate with their dominant hand the length differences between otherwise identical parallelepipeds in a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm. Of the 34 principal components retained for analysis according to the ‘bootstrapped’ Kaiser-Guttman criterion, t-tests applied to the subject-condition expression coefficients showed significant mean differences between the object presentation and inter-stimulus phases in PC 1, 3, 26 and 32. Specifically, PC 1 reflected object exploration or manipulation, PC 3 somatosensory and short-term memory processes. PC 26 evinced the perception that certain parallelepipeds could not be distinguished, while PC 32 emerged in those choices when they could be. Among the cerebral regions evident in the PCs are the left posterior parietal lobe and premotor cortex in PC 1, the left superior parietal lobule (SPL) and the right cuneus in PC 3, the medial frontal and orbitofrontal cortex bilaterally in PC 26, and the right intraparietal sulcus, anterior SPL and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in PC 32.
The analysis provides evidence for the concerted action of large-scale cortico-subcortical networks mediating tactile object discrimination. Parallel to activity in nodes processing object-related impulses we found activity in key cerebral regions responsible for subjective assessment and validation.
PMCID: PMC2585476  PMID: 19048104
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.
PMCID: PMC3091022  PMID: 21411650
12.  Altered Cerebellar-Cerebral Functional Connectivity in Geriatric Depression 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20035.
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.
PMCID: PMC3102667  PMID: 21637831
13.  Patterns in Cortical Connectivity for Determining Outcomes in Hand Function after Subcortical Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52727.
Background and Purpose
Previous studies have noted changes in resting-state functional connectivity during motor recovery following stroke. However, these studies always uncover various patterns of motor recovery. Moreover, subgroups of stroke patients with different outcomes in hand function have rarely been studied.
Materials and Methods
We selected 24 patients who had a subcortical stroke in the left motor pathway and displayed only motor deficits. The patients were divided into two subgroups: completely paralyzed hands (CPH) (12 patients) and partially paralyzed hands (PPH) (12 patients). Twenty-four healthy controls (HC) were also recruited. We performed functional connectivity analysis in both the ipsilesional and contralesional primary motor cortex (M1) to explore the differences in the patterns between each pair of the three diagnostic groups.
Compared with the HC, the PPH group displays reduced connectivity of both the ipsilesional and contralesional M1 with bilateral prefrontal gyrus and contralesional cerebellum posterior lobe. The connectivity of both the ipsilesional and contralesional M1 with contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex was reduced in the CPH group. Additionally, the connectivity of the ipsilesional M1 with contralesional postcentral gyrus, superior parietal lobule and ipsilesional inferior parietal lobule was reduced in the CPH group compared with the PPH group. Moreover, the connectivity of these regions was positively correlated with the Fugl-Meyer Assessment scores (hand+wrist) across all stroke patients.
Patterns in cortical connectivity may serve as a potential biomarker for the neural substratum associated with outcomes in hand function after subcortical stroke.
PMCID: PMC3527607  PMID: 23285171
14.  Aversion-related Circuitry in the Cerebellum: Responses to Noxious Heat and Unpleasant Images 
The cerebellum is reliably activated during both acute and chronic pain conditions, but it is unclear if the response to aversive painful stimuli can be generalized to other aversive stimuli. We hypothesized that cerebellar activation during pain reflects higher-level encoding of aversive stimuli. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare cerebellar responses in 11 healthy volunteers to noxious heat (46°C) applied to the hand and to the passive viewing of images selected from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). Aversive stimuli in the form of noxious heat and unpleasant pictures (unpleasant vs. neutral) activated overlapping areas in the posterior cerebellum, specifically in hemispheric lobule VI, Crus I, and VIIb. Pleasant pictures (pleasant vs. neutral) did not share the same pattern of activation as observed with the aversive stimuli. Cerebellar areas that showed functional overlap with both heat pain and unpleasant picture viewing were significantly inversely correlated with fMRI signals measured in limbic system structures, including the anterior hypothalamus, subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, and the parahippocampal gyrus. Heat specific functional connectivity was detected in many regions including primary motor cortex, secondary somatosensory cortex, anterior insula, and the periaqueductal gray. The overlap between cerebellar lobuli reactive to noxious heat and passive viewing of unpleasant images suggest that the cerebellum may contain specific regions involved in encoding generalized aversive processing. The separate cortical networks suggest that noxious heat evoked responses in the cerebellum can be divided into sensorimotor and emotional networks.
PMCID: PMC3063442  PMID: 21389234
15.  Altered resting-state functional connectivity in patients with chronic bilateral vestibular failure 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2014;4:488-499.
Patients with bilateral vestibular failure (BVF) suffer from gait unsteadiness, oscillopsia and impaired spatial orientation. Brain imaging studies applying caloric irrigation to patients with BVF have shown altered neural activity of cortical visual–vestibular interaction: decreased bilateral neural activity in the posterior insula and parietal operculum and decreased deactivations in the visual cortex. It is unknown how this affects functional connectivity in the resting brain and how changes in connectivity are related to vestibular impairment.
We applied a novel data driven approach based on graph theory to investigate altered whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity in BVF patients (n= 22) compared to age- and gender-matched healthy controls (n= 25) using resting-state fMRI. Changes in functional connectivity were related to subjective (vestibular scores) and objective functional parameters of vestibular impairment, specifically, the adaptive changes during active (self-guided) and passive (investigator driven) head impulse test (HIT) which reflects the integrity of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR).
BVF patients showed lower bilateral connectivity in the posterior insula and parietal operculum but higher connectivity in the posterior cerebellum compared to controls. Seed-based analysis revealed stronger connectivity from the right posterior insula to the precuneus, anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex and the middle frontal gyrus. Excitingly, functional connectivity in the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) of the inferior parietal lobe and posterior cerebellum correlated with the increase of VOR gain during active as compared to passive HIT, i.e., the larger the adaptive VOR changes the larger was the increase in regional functional connectivity.
Using whole brain resting-state connectivity analysis in BVF patients we show that enduring bilateral deficient or missing vestibular input leads to changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain. These changes in the resting brain are robust and task-independent as they were found in the absence of sensory stimulation and without a region-related a priori hypothesis. Therefore they may indicate a fundamental disease-related change in the resting brain. They may account for the patients' persistent deficits in visuo-spatial attention, spatial orientation and unsteadiness. The relation of increasing connectivity in the inferior parietal lobe, specifically SMG, to improvement of VOR during active head movements reflects cortical plasticity in BVF and may play a clinical role in vestibular rehabilitation.
•Resting-state connectivity was investigated in bilateral vestibular failure patients.•Patients showed lower connectivity in the posterior insula and parietal operculum.•Connectivity increased with improved VOR gain during self-initiated head movements.•This may indicate adaptive mechanisms in response to bilateral vestibular failure.
PMCID: PMC3984447  PMID: 24818075
Resting-state fMRI; Functional connectivity; Degree; Bilateral vestibular failure; Vestibulo-ocular reflex
16.  The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans 
The large size and complex organization of the human brain makes it unique among primate brains. In particular, the neocortex constitutes about 80% of the brain, and this cortex is subdivided into a large number of functionally specialized regions, the cortical areas. Such a brain mediates accomplishments and abilities unmatched by any other species. How did such a brain evolve? Answers come from comparative studies of the brains of present-day mammals and other vertebrates in conjunction with information about brain sizes and shapes from the fossil record, studies of brain development, and principles derived from studies of scaling and optimal design. Early mammals were small, with small brains, an emphasis on olfaction, and little neocortex. Neocortex was transformed from the single layer of output pyramidal neurons of the dorsal cortex of earlier ancestors to the six layers of all present-day mammals. This small cap of neocortex was divided into 20–25 cortical areas, including primary and some of the secondary sensory areas that characterize neocortex in nearly all mammals today. Early placental mammals had a corpus callosum connecting the neocortex of the two hemispheres, a primary motor area, M1, and perhaps one or more premotor areas. One line of evolution, Euarchontoglires, led to present-day primates, tree shrews, flying lemurs, rodents and rabbits. Early primates evolved from small-brained, nocturnal, insect-eating mammals with an expanded region of temporal visual cortex. These early nocturnal primates were adapted to the fine branch niche of the tropical rainforest by having an even more expanded visual system that mediated visually guided reaching and grasping of insects, small vertebrates, and fruits. Neocortex was greatly expanded, and included an array of cortical areas that characterize neocortex of all living primates. Specializations of the visual system included new visual areas that contributed to a dorsal stream of visuomotor processing in a greatly enlarged region of posterior parietal cortex and an expanded motor system and the addition of a ventral premotor area. Higher visual areas in a large temporal lobe facilitated object recognition, and frontal cortex, included granular prefrontal cortex. Auditory cortex included the primary and secondary auditory areas that characterize prosimian and anthropoid primates today. As anthropoids emerged as diurnal primates, the visual system specialized for detailed foveal vision. Other adaptations included an expansion of prefrontal cortex and insular cortex. The human and chimpanzee-bonobo lineages diverged some 6–8 million years ago with brains that were about one-third the size of modern humans. Over the last two million years, the brains of our more recent ancestors increased greatly in size, especially in the prefrontal, posterior parietal, lateral temporal, and insular regions. Specialization of the two cerebral hemispheres for related, but different functions became pronounced, and language and other impressive cognitive abilities emerged.
PMCID: PMC3606080  PMID: 23529256
17.  Functional connectivity changes between parietal and prefrontal cortices in primary insomnia patients: evidence from resting-state fMRI 
Primary insomnia can severely impair daytime function by disrupting attention and working memory and imposes a danger to self and others by increasing the risk of accidents. We speculated that the neurobiological changes impeding working memory in primary insomnia patients would be revealed by resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI), which estimates the strength of cortical pathways by measuring local and regional correlations in blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signs independent of specific task demands.
We compared the R-fMRI activity patterns of 15 healthy controls to 15 primary insomnia patients (all 30 participants were right-handed) using a 3.0 T MRI scanner. The SPM8 and REST1.7 software packages were used for preprocessing and analysis. Activity was expressed relative to the superior parietal lobe (SPL, the seed region) to reveal differences in functional connectivity to other cortical regions implicated in spatial working memory.
In healthy controls, bilateral SPL activity was associated with activity in the posterior cingulate gyrus, precuneus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and superior frontal gyrus, indicating functional connectivity between these regions. Strong functional connectivity between the SPL and bilateral pre-motor cortex, bilateral supplementary motor cortex, and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was observed in both the control group and the primary insomnia group. However, the strength of several other functional connectivity pathways to the SPL exhibited significant group differences. Compared to healthy controls, connectivity in the primary insomnia group was stronger between the bilateral SPL and the right ventral anterior cingulate cortex, left ventral posterior cingulate cortex, right splenium of the corpus callosum, right pars triangularis (right inferior frontal gyrus/Broca’s area), and right insular lobe, while connectivity was weaker between the SPL and right superior frontal gyrus (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex).
Primary insomnia appears to alter the functional connectivity between the parietal and frontal lobes, cortical structures critical for spatial and verbal working memory.
PMCID: PMC4062281  PMID: 24915847
Functional MRI; Primary insomnia; Working memory; Superior parietal lobule
18.  Evidence for topographic organization in the cerebellum of motor control versus cognitive and affective processing 
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.
PMCID: PMC2873095  PMID: 20152963
cognition; motor; limbic; dysmetria; imaging; connections
19.  Altered Cerebellar Functional Connectivity with Intrinsic Connectivity Networks in Adults with Major Depressive Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39516.
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.
PMCID: PMC3377654  PMID: 22724025
20.  The Time Course of Task-Specific Memory Consolidation Effects in Resting State Networks 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(11):3982-3992.
Previous studies have reported functionally localized changes in resting-state brain activity following a short period of motor learning, but their relationship with memory consolidation and their dependence on the form of learning is unclear. We investigate these questions with implicit or explicit variants of the serial reaction time task (SRTT). fMRI resting-state functional connectivity was measured in human subjects before the tasks, and 0.1, 0.5, and 6 h after learning. There was significant improvement in procedural skill in both groups, with the group learning under explicit conditions showing stronger initial acquisition, and greater improvement at the 6 h retest. Immediately following acquisition, this group showed enhanced functional connectivity in networks including frontal and cerebellar areas and in the visual cortex. Thirty minutes later, enhanced connectivity was observed between cerebellar nuclei, thalamus, and basal ganglia, whereas at 6 h there was enhanced connectivity in a sensory-motor cortical network. In contrast, immediately after acquisition under implicit conditions, there was increased connectivity in a network including precentral and sensory-motor areas, whereas after 30 min a similar cerebello-thalamo-basal ganglionic network was seen as in explicit learning. Finally, 6 h after implicit learning, we found increased connectivity in medial temporal cortex, but reduction in precentral and sensory-motor areas. Our findings are consistent with predictions that two variants of the SRTT task engage dissociable functional networks, although there are also networks in common. We also show a converging and diverging pattern of flux between prefrontal, sensory-motor, and parietal areas, and subcortical circuits across a 6 h consolidation period.
PMCID: PMC3951697  PMID: 24623776
consolidation; fMRI; ICA; motor learning; resting state
21.  Altered resting-state connectivity in subjects at ultra-high risk for psychosis: an fMRI study 
Individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis have self-disturbances and deficits in social cognition and functioning. Midline default network areas, including the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, are implicated in self-referential and social cognitive tasks. Thus, the neural substrates within the default mode network (DMN) have the potential to mediate self-referential and social cognitive information processing in UHR subjects.
This study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate resting-state DMN and task-related network (TRN) functional connectivity in 19 UHR subjects and 20 matched healthy controls. The bilateral posterior cingulate cortex was selected as a seed region, and the intrinsic organization for all subjects was reconstructed on the basis of fMRI time series correlation.
Default mode areas included the posterior/anterior cingulate cortices, the medial prefrontal cortex, the lateral parietal cortex, and the inferior temporal region. Task-related network areas included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area, the inferior parietal lobule, and middle temporal cortex. Compared to healthy controls, UHR subjects exhibit hyperconnectivity within the default network regions and reduced anti-correlations (or negative correlations nearer to zero) between the posterior cingulate cortex and task-related areas.
These findings suggest that abnormal resting-state network activity may be related with the clinical features of UHR subjects. Neurodevelopmental and anatomical alterations of cortical midline structure might underlie altered intrinsic networks in UHR subjects.
PMCID: PMC2959003  PMID: 20932348
22.  Differentiated parietal connectivity of frontal regions for “what” and “where” memory 
Brain Structure & Function  2012;218(6):1551-1567.
In a previous meta-analysis across almost 200 neuroimaging experiments, working memory for object location showed significantly stronger convergence on the posterior superior frontal gyrus, whereas working memory for identity showed stronger convergence on the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (dorsal to, but overlapping with Brodmann’s area BA 44). As similar locations have been discussed as part of a dorsal frontal—superior parietal reach system and an inferior frontal grasp system, the aim of the present study was to test whether the regions of working-memory related “what” and “where” processing show a similar distinction in parietal connectivity. The regions that were found in the previous meta-analysis were used as seeds for functional connectivity analyses using task-based meta-analytic connectivity modelling and task-independent resting state correlations. While the ventral seed showed significantly stronger connectivity with the bilateral intraparietal sulcus (IPS), the dorsal seed showed stronger connectivity with the bilateral posterior inferior parietal and the medial superior parietal lobule. The observed connections of regions involved in memory for object location and identity thus clearly demonstrate a distinction into separate pathways that resemble the parietal connectivity patterns of the dorsal and ventral premotor cortex in non-human primates and humans. It may hence be speculated that memory for a particular location and reaching towards it as well as object memory and finger positioning for manipulation may rely on shared neural systems. Moreover, the ensuing regions, in turn, featured differential connectivity with the bilateral ventral and dorsal extrastriate cortex, suggesting largely segregated bilateral connectivity pathways from the dorsal visual cortex via the superior and inferior parietal lobules to the dorsal posterior frontal cortex and from the ventral visual cortex via the IPS to the ventral posterior frontal cortex that may underlie action and cognition.
PMCID: PMC3825581  PMID: 23143344
Action; ALE; Cognition; Premotor; Resting state; Streams
23.  Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex 
PLoS Biology  2008;6(7):e159.
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.
Author Summary
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.
PMCID: PMC2443193  PMID: 18597554
24.  Cytoarchitecture and Cortical Connections of the Anterior Cingulate and Adjacent Somatomotor Fields in the Rhesus Monkey 
Brain Research Bulletin  2012;87(4-5):457-497.
The cytoarchitecture and cortical connections of the anterior cingulate, medial and dorsal premotor, and precentral region are investigated using the Nissl and NeuN staining method and the fluorescent retrodgrade tract tracing technique. There is a gradual stepwise laminar change in the cytoarchitectonic organization from the proisocortical anterior cingulate region, through the lower and upper banks of the cingulate sulcus, to the dorsolateral isocortical premotor and precentral motor regions of the frontal lobe. These changes are characterized by a gradational emphasis on the lower stratum layers (V and VI) in the proisocortical cingulate region to the upper stratum layers (II and III) in the premotor and precentral motor region. This is accompanied by a progressive widening of layers III and VI, a poorly delineated border between layers III and V and a sequential increase in the size of layer V neurons culminating in the presense of giant Betz cells in the precentral motor region. The overall patterns of corticocortical connections paralleled the sequential changes in cytoarchitectonic organization. The proisocortical areas have connections with cingulate motor, supplementary motor, premotor and precentral motor areas on the one hand and have widespread connections with the frontal, parietal, temporal and multimodal association cortex and limbic regions on the other. The dorsal premotor areas have connections with the proisocortical areas including cingulate motor areas and supplementary motor area on the one hand, and premotor and precentral motor cortex on the other. Additionally, this region has significant connections with posterior parietal cortex and limited connections with prefrontal, limbic and multimodal regions. The precentral motor cortex also has connections with the proisocortical areas and premotor areas. Its other connections are limited to the somatosensory regions of the parietal lobe. Since the isocortical motor areas on the dorsal convexity mediate voluntary motor function, their close connectional relationship with the cingulate areas form a pivitol limbic-motor interface that could provide critical sources of cognitive, emotional and motivational influence on complex motor function.
PMCID: PMC3295893  PMID: 22240273
Cerebral Cortex; Frontal Lobe; Limbic System; Motivation; Motor Behavior
25.  Abnormal Regional Homogeneity in Patients with Essential Tremor Revealed by Resting-State Functional MRI 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69199.
Essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common movement disorders in human adults. It can be characterized as a progressive neurological disorder of which the most recognizable feature is a tremor of the arms or hands that is apparent during voluntary movements such as eating and writing. The pathology of ET remains unclear. Resting-state fMRI (RS-fMRI), as a non-invasive imaging technique, was employed to investigate abnormalities of functional connectivity in ET in the brain. Regional homogeneity (ReHo) was used as a metric of RS-fMRI to assess the local functional connectivity abnormality in ET with 20 ET patients and 20 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC). The ET group showed decreased ReHo in the anterior and posterior bilateral cerebellar lobes, the bilateral thalamus and the insular lobe, and increased ReHo in the bilateral prefrontal and parietal cortices, the left primary motor cortex and left supplementary motor area. The abnormal ReHo value of ET patients in the bilateral anterior cerebellar lobes and the right posterior cerebellar lobe were negatively correlated with the tremor severity score, while positively correlated with that in the left primary motor cortex. These findings suggest that the abnormality in cerebello-thalamo-cortical motor pathway is involved in tremor generation and propagation, which may be related to motor-related symptoms in ET patients. Meanwhile, the abnormality in the prefrontal and parietal regions may be associated with non-motor symptoms in ET. These findings suggest that the ReHo could be utilized for investigations of functional-pathological mechanism of ET.
PMCID: PMC3711903  PMID: 23869236

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