Cerebellar cortical layers: in vivo visualization with structural high-field-strength MR imaging

Radiology. 2010 Mar;254(3):942-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.09091136.


Purpose: To perform in vivo imaging of the cerebellum with an in-plane resolution of 120 mm to observe its cortical granular and molecular layers by taking advantage of the high signal-to-noise ratio and the increased magnetic susceptibility-related contrast available at high magnetic field strength such as 7 T.

Materials and methods: The study was approved by the institutional review board, and all patients provided written consent. Three healthy persons (two men, one woman; mean age, 30 years; age range, 28-31 years) underwent MR imaging with a 7-T system. Gradient-echo images (repetition time msec/echo time msec, 1000/25) of the human cerebellum were acquired with a nominal in-plane resolution of approximately 120 mum and a section thickness of 1 mm.

Results: Structures with dimensions as small as 240 mum, such as the granular and molecular layers in the cerebellar cortex, were detected in vivo. The detection of these structures was confirmed by comparing the contrast obtained on T2*-weighted and phase images with that obtained on images of rat cerebellum acquired at 14 T with 30 mum in-plane resolution.

Conclusion: In vivo cerebellar imaging at near-microscopic resolution is feasible at 7 T. Such detailed observation of an anatomic area that can be affected by a number of neurologic and psychiatric diseases, such as stroke, tumors, autism, and schizophrenia, could potentially provide newer markers for diagnosis and follow-up in patients with such pathologic conditions. (c) RSNA, 2010.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Rats