Macrocerebellum: Significance and pathogenic considerations

Andrea Poretti, Volker Mall, Martin Smitka, Sebastian Grunt, Sarah Risen, Sandra P. Toelle, Jane E. Benson, Shoko Yoshida, Nikolai H. Jung, Sigrid Tinschert, Teresa M. Neuhann, Anita Rauch, Maja Steinlin, Avner Meoded, Thierry A.G.M. Huisman, Eugen Boltshauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Macrocerebellum is a rare finding characterized by an abnormally large cerebellum. Only few patients with a syndromal or isolated macrocerebellum have been reported so far. This article aims to categorize the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, quantitate the macrocerebellum by volumetric analysis, characterize the neurological and dysmorphic features and cognitive outcome, and report the results of genetic analyses in children with macrocerebellum. AllMR images were qualitatively evaluated for infratentorial and supratentorial abnormalities. Volumetric analysis was performed. Data about neurological and dysmorphic features, outcome, and genetic analysis were collected from clinical histories and follow-up examinations. Five patients were included. Volumetric analysis in three patients confirmed large cerebellar size compared to age-matched controls. MR evaluation showed that thickening of the cortical gray matter of the cerebellar hemispheres is responsible for the macrocerebellum. Additional infratentorial and supratentorial abnormalities were present in all patients. Muscular hypotonia, as well as impaired motor and cognitive development, was found in all patients, with ocular movement disorders in three of five patients. The five patients differed significantly in terms of dysmorphic features and involvement of extracerebral organs. Submicroscopic chromosomal aberrations were found in two patients. Macrocerebellum is caused by thickening of the cortical gray matter of the cerebellar hemispheres, suggesting that cerebellar granule cells may be involved in its development. Patients with macrocerebellum show highly heterogeneous neuroimaging, clinical, and genetic findings, suggesting that macrocerebellum is not a nosological entity, but instead represents the structural manifestation of a deeper, more basic biological disturbance common to heterogeneous disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1036
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebellum
  • Cognitive functions
  • Macrocerebellum. Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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