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A patchy horizontal organization of the somatosensory activation of the rat cerebellum demonstrated by functional MRI.

RR Peeters, M Verhoye, BP Vos, D Van Dyck, A Van Der Linden, E De Schutter

Bio Imaging Lab, University of Antwerp, RUCA, Belgium.

The European journal of neuroscience 11:2720-30 (1999)

Abstract - Blood oxygenation level dependent contrast (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) responses, in a 7-T magnet, were observed in the cerebellum of alpha-chloralose anaesthetized rats in response to innocuous electrical stimulation of a forepaw or hindpaw. The responses were imaged in both coronal and sagittal slices which allowed for a clear delineation and localization of the observed activations. We demonstrate the validity of our fMRI protocol by imaging the responses in somatosensory cortex to the same stimuli and by showing reproducibility of the cerebellar responses. Widespread bilateral activations were found with mainly a patchy and mediolateral band organization, more pronounced ipsilaterally. Possible parasagittal bands were observed only in contralateral lobule VI. There was no overlap between the cerebellar activations caused by forepaw and hindpaw stimuli. The overall horizontal organization of these responses was quite remarkable. For both stimulation paradigms most of the activation patches were positioned in either a rostral or caudal broad plane running anteroposteriorly through both anterior and posterior cerebellum. The rostral planes were completely separated, with the forepaw activation closer to the surface, while the caudal plane was common to both stimulation protocols. We relate our findings to the known projection patterns of spinocerebellar and cuneocerebellar mossy fibres, and to human fMRI studies.

PMID: 10457168 [PubMed]