A considerable body of evidence supports the notion that cerebellar lesions lead to neuropsychological deficits, including impairments in working-memory, executive tasks and verbal fluency. Studies employing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and anatomical tracing in primates provide evidence for a cortico-cerebellar circuitry as the functional substrate of working-memory. The present fMRI study explores the activation pattern during an n-back working-memory task in patients with an isolated cerebellar infarct. To determine each patient's cognitive impairment, neuropsychological tests of working-memory and attention were carried out. We conducted fMRI in nine patients and nine healthy age-matched controls while they performed a 2-back task in a blocked-design. In both groups we found bilateral activations in a widespread cortico-cerebellar network, consisting of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 44, 45), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9, 46), parietal cortex (BA 7, 40), pre-supplementary motor area (BA 6) anterior cingulate (BA 32). Relative to healthy controls, patients with isolated cerebellar infarcts demonstrated significantly more pronounced BOLD-activations in the precuneus and the angular gyrus during the 2-back task. The significant increase in activation in the posterior parietal areas of the cerebellar patients could be attributed to a compensatory recruitment to maintain task performance. We conclude that cerebellar lesions affect remote cortical regions that are part of a putative cortico-cerebellar network.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 15 May 2007|