Mapping pontocerebellar connectivity with diffusion MRI

Neuroimage. 2022 Dec 1;264:119684. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119684. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


The cerebellum's involvement in cognitive, affective and motor functions is mediated by connections to different regions of the cerebral cortex. A distinctive feature of cortico-cerebellar loops that has been demonstrated in the animal work is a topographic organization that is preserved across its corticopontine, pontocerebellar, and cerebello-thalmo-cortical segments. Here we used tractography derived from diffusion imaging data to characterize the connections between the pons and the individual lobules of the cerebellum and generate a parcellation of the pons and middle cerebellar peduncle based on the pattern of connectivity. We identified a rostral to caudal gradient in the pons, similar to that observed in the animal work, such that rostral regions were preferentially connected to cerebellar lobules involved in non-motor, and caudal regions with motor regions. These findings advance our fundamental understanding of the cerebellum, and the parcellations we generated provide context for future research into the pontocerebellar tract's involvement in health and disease.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Connectivity; Diffusion MRI; Pons; Pontocerebellar.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebellum* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Pons* / diagnostic imaging