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Cerebellum Anatomy Relevant to Dizziness

Timothy C. Hain, MD Marcello Cherchi, M.D., Ph.D. Page last modified: June 14, 2009

This page is meant to provide a general outline of cerebellar function. It is adapted from a clinical neuroanatomy lecture given on a yearly basis to Northwestern PT students. This page is "under construction" and should not be relied upon.

Normal axial MRI
The cerebellum with surrounding skull and spinal fluid occupies the bottom 1/3 of this axial MRI image.


What is the cerebellum and what does it do ?

The cerebellum is part of the brain. It lies under the cerebrum, towards the back, behind the brainstem and above the brainstem. The cerebellum is largely involved in "coordination". Persons whose cerebellum doesn't work well are generally clumsy and unsteady. They may look like they are drunk even when they are not.


Gross Anatomy:

Cerebellar Hemispheres and Vermis

cerebellar hemispheres


Gross Anatomy: Lobes & Lobules

Gross Anatomy: Fissures

Connections with brainstem:

cerebellar afferents

Afferent connections with spinal cord and brain


Cerebellar efferents
Cerebellar Efferents

Efferent connections


Sections of the Cerebellum

Vestibulocerebellum or archicerebellum

Spinocerebellum or paleocerebellum

Cerebrocerebellum or neocerebellum


Cerebellar pathways


Superior cerebellar peduncle (brachium conjunctivum)


Middle cerebellar peduncle (brachium pontis)

Inferior cerebellar peduncle (“corpus restiform” or “restiform body”)

Connects to medulla

Cerebellar Nuclei

cerebellar nuclei


Fastigial nucleus


Globose and emboliform (the “interposed nuclei”)

Dentate nucleus

Vestibular nucleus


cortical layers layer circuits




Cortical Layers

Histology: Cell Types

Purkinje Cells

Largest cells in CNS (cell body = 60-90 µm in diameter)

Cell body



layers 2

Granule Cells

granule cells


1 x 1011 granule cells (more neurons than entire cerebral cortex!)

Cell body


Golgi Cells

Basket Cells

Stellate Cells

Cerebellar Circuits

Mossy Fiber System

Climbing Fiber System

Monoaminergic Fiber System

The monoaminergic projections to cerebellum send fibers to all three layers of cerebellar cortex.

Projections include:



Cerebellar Arterial Vasculature

brainstem arteries

SCA (superior cerebellar artery)

AICA (anterior inferior cerebellar artery)

PICA (posterior inferior cerebellar artery)


Clinical Correlates of Cerebellar disease

Postural instability


Other Clinical Correlates



Errors in smoothness and direction of movement

Lack of coordination or synergy of movement (“decomposition” of complex movements)

Lack of motor plasticity or motor learning




Copyright August 3, 2016 , Timothy C. Hain, M.D. All rights reserved. Last saved on August 3, 2016