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Keywords:

  • highfield;
  • cerebellum;
  • homunculus;
  • movement;
  • anatomy

Abstract

Previous anatomical studies in monkeys have shown that forelimb motor representation is located caudal to hindlimb representation within the dorso-rostral dentate nucleus. Here we investigate human dentate nucleus motor somatotopy by means of ultra-highfield (7 T) functional magnetic brain imaging (fMRI). Twenty five young healthy males participated in the study. Simple finger and foot movement tasks were performed to identify dentate nucleus motor areas. Recently developed normalization procedures for group analyses were used for the cerebellar cortex and the cerebellar dentate nucleus. Cortical activations were in good accordance with the known somatotopy of the human cerebellar cortex. Dentate nucleus activations following motor tasks were found in particular in the ipsilateral dorso-rostral nucleus. Activations were also present in other parts of the nucleus including the contralateral side, and there was some overlap between the body part representations. Within the ipsilateral dorso-rostral dentate, finger activations were located caudally compared to foot movement-related activations in fMRI group analysis. Likewise, the centre of gravity (COG) for the finger activation was more caudal than the COG of the foot activation across participants. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) on the x, y, and z coordinates of the COG indicated that this difference was significant (P = 0.043). These results indicate that in humans, the lower and upper limbs are arranged rostro-caudally in the dorsal aspect of the dentate nucleus, which is consistent with studies in non-human primates. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.