Sci Rep 2020 06 22;10(1):10116. Epub 2020 Jun 22.
King's College London, Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, London, UK.
It is unclear to what extent cerebellar networks show long-term plasticity and accompanied changes in cortical structures. Using drumming as a demanding multimodal motor training, we compared cerebellar lobular volume and white matter microstructure, as well as cortical thickness of 15 healthy non-musicians before and after learning to drum, and 16 age matched novice control participants. After 8 weeks of group drumming instruction, 3 ×30 minutes per week, we observed the cerebellum significantly changing its grey (volume increase of left VIIIa, relative decrease of VIIIb and vermis Crus I volume) and white matter microstructure in the inferior cerebellar peduncle. These plastic cerebellar changes were complemented by changes in cortical thickness (increase in left paracentral, right precuneus and right but not left superior frontal thickness), suggesting an interplay of cerebellar learning with cortical structures enabled through cerebellar pathways.