Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 326–339 | Cite as

The dentate nucleus in children: normal development and patterns of disease

  • Aoife McErleanEmail author
  • Khaled Abdalla
  • Veronica Donoghue
  • Stephanie Ryan
Pictorial Essay


The dentate nuclei lie deep within the cerebellum and play a vital role in the pathways involved in fine motor control and coordination. They are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Some pathological processes preferentially affect the dentate nuclei, while concomitant basal ganglia or white matter involvement can be a striking finding in others. A familiarity with the normal appearance of the dentate nuclei at different ages in combination with the radiological distribution of pathology in the brain allows the paediatric radiologist to develop a logical approach to the interpretation of MR imaging of these deep cerebellar nuclei. In this article we review the normal appearance and MR features of the dentate nuclei, including changes that are seen with myelination. We describe the specific imaging characteristics of childhood diseases that involve the dentate nuclei, and develop a systematic approach to the differential diagnosis of dentate nucleus abnormalities on MR imaging.


Cerebellar nuclei MRI Anatomy Cross-sectional Paediatrics Cerebellum Dentate 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aoife McErlean
    • 1
    Email author
  • Khaled Abdalla
    • 1
  • Veronica Donoghue
    • 1
  • Stephanie Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiology DepartmentChildren’s University HospitalDublin 1Ireland

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