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Neuroimage. 2011 Feb 14;54(4):2612-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.028. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Evidence for a motor and a non-motor domain in the human dentate nucleus--an fMRI study.

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Department of Neurology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.


Dum and Strick (J. Neurophysiol. 2003; 89, 634-639) proposed a division of the cerebellar dentate nucleus into a "motor" and "non-motor" area based on anatomical data in the monkey. We asked the question whether motor and non-motor domains of the dentate can be found in humans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Therefore dentate activation was compared in motor and cognitive tasks. Young, healthy participants were tested in a 1.5 T MRI scanner. Data from 13 participants were included in the final analysis. A block design was used for the experimental conditions. Finger tapping of different complexities served as motor tasks, while cognitive testing included a verbal working memory and a visuospatial task. To further confirm motor-related dentate activation, a simple finger movement task was tested in a supplementary experiment using ultra-highfield (7 T) fMRI in 23 participants. For image processing, a recently developed region of interest (ROI) driven normalization method of the deep cerebellar nuclei was used. Dorso-rostral dentate nucleus activation was associated with motor function, whereas cognitive tasks led to prominent activation of the caudal nucleus. The visuospatial task evoked activity bilaterally in the caudal dentate nucleus, whereas verbal working memory led to activation predominantly in the right caudal dentate. These findings are consistent with Dum and Strick's anatomical findings in the monkey.

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