Cerebral and cerebellar motor activation abnormalities in a subject with Joubert syndrome: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study

Melissa A. Parisi, Joseph D. Pinter, Ian A. Glass, Katherine Field, Bernard L. Maria, Phillip F. Chance, Roderick K. Mahurin, Steven C. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Joubert syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by hypotonia, ataxia, developmental delay, and a distinctive hindbrain malformation involving the cerebellum and brain stem, visualized radiographically on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the "molar tooth sign." In postmortem brains from subjects with Joubert syndrome, there is an apparent absence of decussation of both corticospinal and superior cerebellar tracts, although the functional significance has not been elucidated. We sought to explore the cerebral and cerebellar activation pattern elicited by finger tapping in an adolescent with Joubert syndrome and in a normal control subject using functional MRI. In contrast to the typical highly lateralized activation seen in our control subject, the subject with Joubert syndrome demonstrated striking bilateral activation of the sensorimotor and cerebellar cortex. Although our functional MRI data do not indicate a clear absence of decussation, the abnormal activation pattern observed suggests altered brain functional organization in relation to anatomic differences. Malformation of the hindbrain could result in recruitment of alternative pathways, similar to what has been observed following ischemic injury to the developing or mature central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-218
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of child neurology
Volume19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Parisi, M. A., Pinter, J. D., Glass, I. A., Field, K., Maria, B. L., Chance, P. F., Mahurin, R. K., & Cramer, S. C. (2004). Cerebral and cerebellar motor activation abnormalities in a subject with Joubert syndrome: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study. Journal of child neurology, 19(3), 214-218.