Background and Purpose - The cerebellum has an influence on motor excitability. We investigated if the location of a cerebellar infarction was crucial for changes of motor cortex excitability and if the electrophysiological findings were correlated with motor performance. Methods - Transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied to study intracortical inhibition (ICI), intracortical facilitation (ICF), motor thresholds, and corticospinal excitability. Dexterity as a measure of motor performance was tested with the Nine-Hole-Peg Test (9HPT). Ratios (affected/unaffected) were also calculated. Results - ICI and ICF ratios were negatively correlated with 9HET ratios in all patients (n=9). Compared with an age-matched control group, patients with lesions in the territory of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) (n=3) or a lesion rostral of the dentate nucleus (n= 1) had abnormally enhanced ICI and a loss of ICF (3 patients). Dexterity was impaired in all 4 patients. Motor excitability and motor performance normalized over the subsequent weeks. Patients with an infarct either in the territory of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (n=2) or in the territory of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (n=3) displayed motor excitability and motor performance within the normal range. Conclusion - The superior part of the cerebellum has a strong influence on motor cortex excitability. We suggest that the enhancement of motor inhibition and reduction of motor facilitation is mediated by an impairment of the deep cerebellar nuclei.
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|Published - 11.2004