Three-Dimensional Digital Reconstruction of the Cerebellar Cortex: Lobule Thickness, Surface Area Measurements, and Layer Architecture

Date Published:

2022 Mar 14


The cerebellum is ontogenetically one of the first structures to develop in the central nervous system; nevertheless, it has been only recently reconsidered for its significant neurobiological, functional, and clinical relevance in humans. Thus, it has been a relatively under-studied compared to the cerebrum. Currently, non-invasive imaging modalities can barely reach the necessary resolution to unfold its entire, convoluted surface, while only histological analyses can reveal local information at the micrometer scale. Herein, we used the BigBrain dataset to generate area and point-wise thickness measurements for all layers of the cerebellar cortex and for each lobule in particular. We found that the overall surface area of the cerebellar granular layer (including Purkinje cells) was 1,732 cm2 and the molecular layer was 1,945 cm2. The average thickness of the granular layer is 0.88 mm (± 0.83) and that of the molecular layer is 0.32 mm (± 0.08). The cerebellum (both granular and molecular layers) is thicker at the depth of the sulci and thinner at the crowns of the gyri. Globally, the granular layer is thicker in the lateral-posterior-inferior region than the medial-superior regions. The characterization of individual layers in the cerebellum achieved herein represents a stepping-stone for investigations interrelating structural and functional connectivity with cerebellar architectonics using neuroimaging, which is a matter of considerable relevance in basic and clinical neuroscience. Furthermore, these data provide templates for the construction of cerebellar topographic maps and the precise localization of structural and functional alterations in diseases affecting the cerebellum.

Last updated on 06/13/2022