Cereb Cortex 2019 Nov 7. Epub 2019 Nov 7.
McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Anatomical connections link the cerebellar cortex with multiple sensory, motor, association, and paralimbic cerebral areas. The majority of fibers that exit cerebellar cortex synapse in dentate nuclei (DN) before reaching extracerebellar structures such as cerebral cortex, but the functional neuroanatomy of human DN remains largely unmapped. Neuroimaging research has redefined broad categories of functional division in the human brain showing that primary processing, attentional (task positive) processing, and default-mode (task negative) processing are three central poles of neural macroscale functional organization. This broad spectrum of human neural processing categories is represented not only in the cerebral cortex, but also in the thalamus, striatum, and cerebellar cortex. Whether functional organization in DN obeys a similar set of macroscale divisions, and whether DN are yet another compartment of representation of a broad spectrum of human neural processing categories, remains unknown. Here, we show for the first time that human DN are optimally divided into three functional territories as indexed by high spatio-temporal resolution resting-state MRI in 77 healthy humans, and that these three distinct territories contribute uniquely to default-mode, salience-motor, and visual cerebral cortical networks. Our findings provide a systems neuroscience substrate for cerebellar output to influence multiple broad categories of neural control.