IMR Press / JIN / Volume 21 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2102065
Open Access Original Research
Cerebellar remodelling decades after spinal cord insult: neuroplasticity in poliomyelitis survivors
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1 Computational Neuroimaging Group, Trinity College Dublin, D02 PN40 Dublin, Ireland
2 Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, Sorbonne University, 53400 Paris, France
*Correspondence: bedep@tcd.ie (Peter Bede)
Academic Editor: Foteini Christidi
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2022, 21(2), 065; https://doi.org/10.31083/j.jin2102065
Submitted: 1 September 2021 | Revised: 15 September 2021 | Accepted: 22 September 2021 | Published: 23 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Imaging)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Abstract

Background: The cerebellum integrates a multitude of motor and cognitive processes through ample spinal and supratentorial projections. Despite emerging evidence of adaptive neuroplasticity, cerebellar reorganisation in response to severe spinal insult early in life is poorly characterised. The objective of this study is the systematic characterisation of cerebellar integrity metrics in a cohort of adult poliomyelitis survivors as a template condition for longstanding lower motor neuron injury. Methods: A total of 143 participants, comprising 43 adult poliomyelitis survivors and 100 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited in a prospective, single-centre neuroimaging study with a uniform structural and diffusion imaging protocol. First, standard voxelwise grey and white matter analyses were performed. Then, the cerebellum was anatomically segmented into lobules, and cortical thickness and grey matter volumes were evaluated in each lobule. The integrity of cerebellar peduncles was also assessed based on their diffusivity profiles. Results: Compared to healthy controls, poliomyelitis survivors exhibited greater cortical thickness in lobules I, II, and III in the right hemisphere and in lobules VIIIA and VIIIB bilaterally. A trend of higher cortical thickness was also detected lobules I, II and III in the left hemisphere. Enhanced cerebellar peduncle organisation was detected, particularly within the middle cerebellar peduncles. Conclusions: Increased cerebellar integrity measures in poliomyelitis survivors are primarily identified in lobules associated with sensorimotor functions. The identified pattern of cerebellar reorganisation may represent compensatory changes in response to severe lower motor neuron injury in childhood and ensuing motor disability.

Keywords
Neuroplasticity
Cerebellum
Poliomyelitis
Motor neuron disease
Magentic resonance imaging
Neuroimaging
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