Cerebellar dysfunction in adults with prader willi syndrome

Juan Deus Yela, Assumpta Caixàs i Pedragós, Laura Blanco Hinojo, Laia Casamitjana, Jesús Pujol Nuez, Gerard Martínez-Vilavella, Susanna Esteba-Castillo, Olga Giménez-Palop, Valentín Freijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Severe hypotonia during infancy is a hallmark feature of Prader Willi syndrome (PWS). Despite its transient expression, moto development is delayed and deficiencies in motor coordination are present at older ages, with no clear pathophysiological mechanism yet identified. The di-verse motor coordination symptoms present in adult PWS patients could be, in part, the result of a common alteration(s) in basic motor control systems. We aimed to examine the motor system in PWS using functional MRI (fMRI) during motor challenge. Twenty-three adults with PWS and 22 matched healthy subjects participated in the study. fMRI testing involved three hand motor tasks of different complexity. Additional behavioral measurements of motor function were obtained by evaluating hand grip strength, functional mobility, and balance. Whole brain activation maps were compared between groups and correlated with behavioral measurements. Performance of the motor tasks in PWS engaged the neural elements typically involved in motor processing. While our data showed no group differences in the simplest task, increasing task demands evoked significantly weaker activation in patients in the cerebellum. Significant interaction between group and correlation pattern with measures of motor function were also observed. Our study provides novel insights into the neural substrates of motor control in PWS by demonstrating reduced cerebellar activation during movement coordination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cerebellum
  • FMRI
  • Motor system
  • Prader Willi syndrome


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