Compression of Cerebellar Functional Gradients in Schizophrenia

Debo Dong, Cheng Luo, Xavier Guell, Yulin Wang, Hui He, Mingjun Duan, Simon B Eickhoff, Dezhong Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Our understanding of cerebellar involvement in brain disorders has evolved from motor processing to high-level cognitive and affective processing. Recent neuroscience progress has highlighted hierarchy as a fundamental principle for the brain organization. Despite substantial research on cerebellar dysfunction in schizophrenia, there is a need to establish a neurobiological framework to better understand the co-occurrence and interaction of low- and high-level functional abnormalities of cerebellum in schizophrenia. To help to establish such a framework, we investigated the abnormalities in the distribution of sensorimotor-supramodal hierarchical processing topography in the cerebellum and cerebellar-cerebral circuits in schizophrenia using a novel gradient-based resting-state functional connectivity (FC) analysis (96 patients with schizophrenia vs 120 healthy controls). We found schizophrenia patients showed a compression of the principal motor-to-supramodal gradient. Specifically, there were increased gradient values in sensorimotor regions and decreased gradient values in supramodal regions, resulting in a shorter distance (compression) between the sensorimotor and supramodal poles of this gradient. This pattern was observed in intra-cerebellar, cerebellar-cerebral, and cerebral-cerebellar FC. Further investigation revealed hyper-connectivity between sensorimotor and cognition areas within cerebellum, between cerebellar sensorimotor and cerebral cognition areas, and between cerebellar cognition and cerebral sensorimotor areas, possibly contributing to the observed compressed pattern. These findings present a novel mechanism that may underlie the co-occurrence and interaction of low- and high-level functional abnormalities of cerebellar and cerebro-cerebellar circuits in schizophrenia. Within this framework of abnormal motor-to-supramodal organization, a cascade of impairments stemming from disrupted low-level sensorimotor system may in part account for high-level cognitive cerebellar dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1282-1295
Number of pages14
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number5
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


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