The recent increase in the use of high field MR systems is accompanied by a demand for acquisition techniques and coil systems that can take advantage of increased power and accuracy without being susceptible to increased noise. Physical location and anatomical complexity of targeted regions must be considered when attempting to image deeper structures with small nuclei and/or complex cytoarchitechtonics (i.e. small microvasculature and deep nuclei), such as the brainstem and the cerebellum (Cb). Once these obstacles are overcome, the concomitant increase in signal strength at higher field strength should allow for faster acquisition of MR images. Here we show that it is technically feasible to quickly and accurately detect blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal changes and obtain anatomical images of Cb at high spatial resolutions in individual subjects at 7 Tesla in a single one-hour session. Images were obtained using two high-density multi-element surface coils (32 channels in total) placed beneath the head at the level of Cb, two channel transmission, and three-dimensional sensitivity encoded (3D, SENSE) acquisitions to investigate sensorimotor activations in Cb. Two classic sensorimotor tasks were used to detect Cb activations. BOLD signal changes during motor activity resulted in concentrated clusters of activity within the Cb lobules associated with each task, observed consistently and independently in each subject: Oculomotor vermis (VI/VII) and CrusI/II for pro- and anti-saccades; ipsilateral hemispheres IV-VI for finger tapping; and topographical separation of eye- and hand- activations in hemispheres VI and VIIb/VIII. Though fast temporal resolution was not attempted here, these functional patches of highly specific BOLD signal changes may reflect small-scale shunting of blood in the microvasculature of Cb. The observed improvements in acquisition time and signal detection are ideal for individualized investigations such as differentiation of functional zones prior to surgery. Copyright:,
Department of Neuroscience

Batson, M., Petridou, N., Klomp, D., Frens, M., & Neggers, S. (2015). Single session imaging of cerebellum at 7 tesla: Obtaining structure and function of multiple motor subsystems in individual subjects. PLoS ONE, 10(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134933