Segregated fronto-cerebellar circuits revealed by intrinsic functional connectivity

Fenna M. Krienen, Randy L. Buckner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

615 Scopus citations


Multiple, segregated fronto-cerebellar circuits have been characterized in nonhuman primates using transneuronal tracing techniques including those that target prefrontal areas. Here, we used functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) in humans (n = 40) to identify 4 topographically distinct fronto-cerebellar circuits that target 1) motor cortex, 2) dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, 3) medial prefrontal cortex, and 4) anterior prefrontal cortex. All 4 circuits were replicated and dissociated in an independent data set (n = 40). Direct comparison of right- and left-seeded frontal regions revealed contralateral lateralization in the cerebellum for each of the segregated circuits. The presence of circuits that involve prefrontal regions confirms that the cerebellum participates in networks important to cognition including a specific fronto-cerebellar circuit that interacts with the default network. Overall, the extent of the cerebellum associated with prefrontal cortex included a large portion of the posterior hemispheres consistent with a prominent role of the cerebellum in nonmotor functions. We conclude by providing a provisional map of the topography of the cerebellum based on functional correlations with the frontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2485-2497
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Cerebellum
  • Cognition
  • FMRI
  • Pontine nucleus
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Thalamus


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