Whole-body somatotopic maps in the cerebellum revealed with 7T fMRI

Yohan Boillat, Pierre-Louis Bazin, Wietske van der Zwaag

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Abstract

The cerebellum is known to contain a double somatotopic body representation. While the anterior lobe body map has shown a robust somatotopic organization in previous fMRI studies, the representations in the posterior lobe have been more difficult to observe and are less precisely characterized. In this study, participants went through a simple motor task asking them to move either the eyes (left-right guided saccades), tongue (left-right movement), thumbs, little fingers or toes (flexion). Using high spatial resolution fMRI data acquired at ultra-high field (7T), with special care taken to obtain sufficient B1 over the entire cerebellum and a cerebellar surface reconstruction facilitating visual inspection of the results, we were able to precisely map the somatotopic representations of these five distal body parts on both subject- and group-specific cerebellar surfaces. The anterior lobe (including lobule VI) showed a consistent and robust somatotopic gradient. Although less robust, the presence of such a gradient in the posterior lobe, from Crus II to lobule VIIIb, was also observed. Additionally, the eyes were also strongly represented in Crus I and the oculomotor vermis. Overall, crosstalk between the different body part representations was negligible. Taken together, these results show that multiple representations of distal body parts are present in the cerebellum, across many lobules, and they are organized in an orderly manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116624
JournalNeuroImage
Volume211
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020

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