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Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 2008;188:6-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2008.01025.x.

Clinical manifestation of focal cerebellar disease as related to the organization of neural pathways.

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Department of Neurology, Centre of Clinical Neuroscience, Rikshospitalet University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Neural pathways connect different parts of the cerebellum to different parts of the central nervous system. The cerebellum may be divided anatomically and functionally into three major regions. The cerebellar hemispheres and a small part of the posterior lobe vermis form the pontocerebellum, which receives inputs from the cerebral cortex via the pontine nuclei. The anterior lobe and most of the posterior lobe vermis make up the spinocerebellum, which receives afferents from the spinal cord. The nodulus and flocculus are connected with the vestibular nuclei and constitute the vestibulocerebellum. Most cases of cerebellar disease affect more than one region and different pathways. Hence, they cause generalized cerebellar symptoms dominated by impaired motor control and balance. Focal syndromes after restricted cerebellar lesions are rare. Isolated spinocerebellar affection may give gait ataxia. Vestibulocerebellar disease causes equilibrium disturbances with truncal ataxia and nystagmus. Pontocerebellar lesions typically give ipsilateral limb ataxia, but also dysartria and oculomotor dysfunction if vermal parts are involved. The clinical picture is in most cases of cerebellar disease dominated by motor disturbances, but the cerebellum also participates in the modulation of autonomic and affective responses and in cognitive functions. The cerebrocerebellar and hypothalamocerebellar circuits may be important for these tasks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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