Anat Cell Biol.  2015 Dec;48(4):262-267. 10.5115/acb.2015.48.4.262.

White matter plasticity in the cerebellum of elite basketball athletes

  • 1Department of Liberal Arts and Teaching Profession, Kyungil University, Gyeongsan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Anatomy, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Recent neuroimaging studies indicate that learning a novel motor skill induces plastic changes in the brain structures of both gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) that are associated with a specific practice. We previously reported an increased volume of vermian lobules VI-VII (declive, folium, and tuber) in elite basketball athletes who require coordination for dribbling and shooting a ball, which awakened the central role of the cerebellum in motor coordination. However, the precise factor contributing to the increased volume was not determined. In the present study, we compared the volumes of the GM and WM in the sub-regions of the cerebellar vermis based on manual voxel analysis with the ImageJ program. We found significantly larger WM volumes of vermian lobules VI-VII (declive, folium, and tuber) in elite basketball athletes in response to long-term intensive motor learning. We suggest that the larger WM volumes of this region in elite basketball athletes represent a motor learning-induced plastic change, and that the WM of this region likely plays a critical role in coordination. This finding will contribute to gaining a deeper understanding of motor learning-evoked WM plasticity.


Coordination; Motor learning; Magnetic resonance imaging; Vermis

MeSH Terms

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Motor Skills


  • Fig. 1 Edited screen capture obtained during pixel counting to analyze gray matter and white matter with the ImageJ program. The region of interest area was marked using the free drawing tool in sagittal view (left image). The "Analyze-Histogram" menu gives the pixel density value as a separate window (right image). A valley observed in the histogram represents the cut-off point between gray matter and white matter. The detailed value can be copied by clicking the "copy" button (arrow) and was then pasted into an Excel program for further analyses.

Cited by  1 articles

Roles of the Declive, Folium, and Tuber Cerebellar Vermian Lobules in Sportspeople
In Sung Park, Nam Joon Lee, Im Joo Rhyu
J Clin Neurol. 2018;14(1):1-7.    doi: 10.3988/jcn.2018.14.1.1.


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