Cerebellar and thalamic connector hubs facilitate the involvement of visual and cognitive networks in essential tremor

Epifanio Bagarinao, Satoshi Maesawa, Sachiko Kato, Manabu Mutoh, Yoshiki Ito, Tomotaka Ishizaki, Takafumi Tanei, Takashi Tsuboi, Masashi Suzuki, Hirohisa Watanabe, Minoru Hoshiyama, Haruo Isoda, Masahisa Katsuno, Gen Sobue, Ryuta Saito



Connector hubs are specialized brain regions that connect multiple brain networks and therefore have the potential to affect the functions of multiple systems. This study aims to examine the involvement of connector hub regions in essential tremor.


We examined whole-brain functional connectivity alterations across multiple brain networks in 27 patients with essential tremor and 27 age- and sex-matched healthy controls to identify affected hub regions using a network metric called functional connectivity overlap ratio estimated from resting-state functional MRI. We also evaluated the relationships of affected hubs with cognitive and tremor scores in all patients and with motor function improvement scores in 15 patients who underwent postoperative follow-up evaluations after focused ultrasound thalamotomy.


We have identified affected connector hubs in the cerebellum and thalamus. Specifically, the dentate nucleus in the cerebellum and the dorsomedial thalamus exhibited more extensive connections with the sensorimotor network in patients. Moreover, the connections of the thalamic pulvinar with the visual network were also significantly widespread in the patient group. The connections of these connector hub regions with cognitive networks were negatively associated (FDR q < 0.05) with cognitive, tremor, and motor function improvement scores.


In patients with essential tremor, connector hub regions within the cerebellum and thalamus exhibited widespread functional connections with sensorimotor and visual networks, leading to alternative pathways outside the classical tremor axis. Their connections with cognitive networks also affect patients’ cognitive function.

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