Resting-State Networks of the Human Cerebellum
Hassevoort, Kelsey M.
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While the cerebellum is known to play a key role in motor function, an increasing body of evidence indicates that this structure has important roles and cognitive processes as well. Research in nonhuman primates has revealed that outputs from the cerebellum project to widespread areas of the cerebral cortex, including motor regions and prefrontal regions involved in cognitive and executive function. Human neuroimaging studies also suggest that the cerebellum is organized with different networks for motor and non-motor functions. While recent research employing functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) has demonstrated general motor and non-motor networks in the cerebellum, the specific networks of individual cerebellar lobules are currently unknown. In this study, we investigated the resting state functional networks of individual cerebellar lobules using fcMRI in a population of neurologically healthy young adults. Each lobule was used as a seed region and we extracted the BOLD signal from each lobule. We then ran correlational analyses between seed regions and all voxels within the cerebral cortex and cerebellum itself. We found distinct functional networks: lobules VIIb, VIIIa, VIIIb, and X were associated with multimodal areas of the cerebral cortex, lobules Crus I, Crus II, and lobule IV were associated with frontal and parietal cortical regions, and lobules I-IV and V were associated with sensorimotor areas. These findings demonstrate that the cerebellum is involved in domains outside of motor control, and that cerebellar lobules participate in multiple, distinct networks with both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum itself. These results will serve as a foundation for further behavioral and anatomical investigations aimed at increasing our understanding of the role of the cerebellum and cerebellar connectivity in regulating human behavior.