The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) originates from the dentate nucleus in the cerebellum and terminates in the contralateral ventrolateral nucleus (VL) of the thalamus after decussating to the contralateral red nucleus. Identification of the DRTT is difficult due to the fact that it is a long, multisynaptic, neural tract crossing to the opposite hemisphere.
In the current study, we attempted to identify the DRTT in the human brain using a probabilistic tractography technique of diffusion tensor imaging.
Methods Diffusion tensor imaging was performed at 1.5-T using a synergy-L sensitivity encoding head coil. DRTTs were obtained by selection of fibers passing through three regions of interest (the dentate nucleus, the superior cerebellar peduncle, and the contralateral red nucleus) from 41 healthy volunteers. Probabilistic mapping was obtained from the highest probabilistic location at 2.3 mm above the anterior commissure–posterior commissure level.
Results DRTTs of all subjects, which originated from the dentate nucleus, ascended through the junction of the superior cerebellar peduncle and the contralateral red nucleus and then terminated at the VL nucleus of the thalamus. The highest probabilistic location for the DRTT at the thalamus was compatible with the location of the VL nucleus.
Conclusions We identified the DRTT in the human brain using probabilistic tractography. Our results could be useful in research on movement control.