Posterior Fossa Arachnoid Cyst in a Pediatric Population is Associated with Social Perception and Rest Cerebral Blood Flow Abnormalities

  • Elza RechtmanEmail author
  • Stephanie Puget
  • Ana Saitovitch
  • Hervé Lemaitre
  • Ludovic Fillion
  • Jean-Marc Tacchella
  • Jennifer Boisgontier
  • Marie-Laure Cuny
  • Nathalie Boddaert
  • Monica Zilbovicius
Original Paper


Posterior fossa arachnoid cysts (PFAC) may produce not only neurological symptoms but also other symptoms still poorly understood such as behavioral and learning deficits, awkwardness, and difficulties in social interaction. These subtle social impairments have not been formally described and their underlying brain mechanisms remain unknown. In the present case-control study, we aimed to empirically characterize social impairments in a pediatric population with PFAC using eye tracking. In addition, we investigated putative functional cortical abnormalities in these children using arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging. Overall, 15 patients with PFAC (3f, age = 9.4 ± 4 years) and 43 typically developing volunteer children (16f, age = 9.3 ± 3.6 years) were enrolled in this study. Eye tracking was used to record gaze patterns during visualization of social interaction scenes. Viewing times to faces of characters and non-social background were analyzed. A voxel-wise whole-brain analysis was performed to investigate rest cerebral blood flow (CBF) abnormalities. Significantly reduced viewing time to faces was observed in patients compared with controls (p < 0.01). A ROC curve analysis revealed that 30% of PFAC patients presented viewing time to the face lower than the cutoff, while none of the controls did. The whole-brain analysis revealed a significant decrease in rest CBF in PFAC patients compared with controls bilaterally in the superior temporal gyrus and the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) (p < 0.05 FWE). These results suggest that early life PFAC may have an impact on functional activity of the temporal lobe, which could be associated with social perception deficits.


Arachnoid cyst Cerebellum Neuroimaging Social Perception Eye tracking Cerebral blood flow 


Funding Information

The study was supported by Fondation de France (2011-00023952). ER and AS received funding from Fondation Orange. The eye tracking device was financed by “Les Amis d’Arthur” association.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval

The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Necker Hospital, Paris, France.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elza Rechtman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephanie Puget
    • 3
  • Ana Saitovitch
    • 1
  • Hervé Lemaitre
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ludovic Fillion
    • 1
  • Jean-Marc Tacchella
    • 1
  • Jennifer Boisgontier
    • 1
  • Marie-Laure Cuny
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  • Nathalie Boddaert
    • 1
  • Monica Zilbovicius
    • 1
  1. 1.INSERM U1000, Department of Pediatric Radiology, Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades, AP-HPUniversity René Descartes, Institut Imagine and UMR 1163ParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Medicine and Public HealthIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades, AP-HPUniversity René Descartes, Pres Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance
  4. 4.Faculté De MédecineUniversité Paris-SudOrsayFrance
  5. 5.Laboratory of Memory and Cognition, Institute of PsychologyUniversity Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance
  6. 6.CESP, University Paris-Sud, UVSQ, INSERM 1018University Paris-SaclayParisFrance

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