Imaging the deep cerebellar nuclei: A probabilistic atlas and normalization procedure

J. Diedrichsen, S. Maderwald, M. Küper, M. Thürling, K. Rabe, E.R. Gizewski, M.E. Ladd, D. Timmann
2011 NeuroImage  
The deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) are a key element of the cortico-cerebellar loop. Because of their small size and functional diversity, it is difficult to study them using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To overcome these difficulties, we present here three related methodological advances. First, we used susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) at a high-field strength (7 T) to identify the dentate, globose, emboliform and fastigial nucleus in 23 human participants. Due to their high iron
more » ... t, the DCN are visible as hypo-intensities. Secondly, we generated probabilistic maps of the deep cerebellar nuclei in MNI space using a number of common normalization techniques. These maps can serve as a guide to the average location of the DCN, and are integrated into an existing probabilistic atlas of the human cerebellum (Diedrichsen et al., 2009) . The maps also quantify the variability of the anatomical location of the deep cerebellar nuclei after normalization. Our results indicate that existing normalization techniques do not provide satisfactory overlap to analyze the functional specialization within the DCN. We therefore thirdly propose a ROI-driven normalization technique that utilizes both information from a T1-weighted image and the hypo-intensity from a T2*-weighted or SWI image to ensure overlap of the nuclei. These techniques will promote the study of the functional specialization of subregions of the DCN using MRI.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.10.035 pmid:20965257 fatcat:aik2bmghnncxbmx2pn57nyjpoy