Differential vulnerability of the cerebellum in healthy ageing and Alzheimer’s disease

Gellersen, Helena M., Guell, Xavier and Sami, Saber (2021) Differential vulnerability of the cerebellum in healthy ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. NeuroImage: Clinical, 30. ISSN 2213-1582

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Abstract

Recent findings challenge the prior notion that the cerebellum remains unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Yet, it is unclear whether AD exacerbates age-related cerebellar grey matter decline or engages distinct structural and functional territories. We performed a meta-analysis of cerebellar grey matter loss in normal ageing and AD. We mapped voxels with structural decline onto established brain networks, functional parcellations, and along gradients that govern the functional organisation of the cerebellum. Importantly, these gradients track continuous changes in cerebellar specialisation providing a more nuanced measure of the functional profile of regions vulnerable to ageing and AD. Gradient 1 progresses from motor to cognitive territories; Gradient 2 isolates attentional processing; Gradient 3 captures lateralisation differences in cognitive functions. We identified bilateral and right-lateralised posterior cerebellar atrophy in ageing and AD, respectively. Age- and AD-related structural decline only showed partial spatial overlap in right lobule VI/Crus I. Despite the seemingly distinct patterns of AD- and age-related atrophy, the functional profiles of these regions were similar. Both participate in the same macroscale networks (default mode, frontoparietal, attention), support executive functions and language processing, and did not exhibit a difference in relative positions along Gradients 1 or 2. However, Gradient 3 values were significantly different in ageing vs. AD, suggesting that the roles of left and right atrophied cerebellar regions exhibit subtle functional differences despite their membership in similar macroscale networks. These findings provide an unprecedented characterisation of structural and functional differences and similarities in cerebellar grey matter loss between normal ageing and AD.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: aging,alzheimer's disease,cerebellum,functional gradients,grey matter loss,radiology nuclear medicine and imaging,neurology,clinical neurology,cognitive neuroscience ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2741
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 00:45
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 04:43
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/79422
DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102605

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