Degeneration of cerebellar white matter pathways have been previously reported in FRDA, alongside indications of cerebello-cerebral functional alterations. This work examines resting-state functional connectivity changes within cerebello-cerebral circuits, and their associations with disease severity (Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia [SARA]), psychomotor function (speeded and paced finger tapping), and white matter integrity (diffusion tensor imaging) in 35 adults with FRDA and 45 age and sex-matched controls. Voxel-wise seed-based functional connectivity was assessed for three cerebellar cortical regions (anterior lobe, lobules I-V; superior posterior lobe, lobules VI-VIIB; inferior posterior lobe, lobules VIIIA-IX) and two dentate nucleus seeds (dorsal and ventral). Compared to controls, people with FRDA showed significantly reduced connectivity between the anterior cerebellum and bilateral pre/postcentral gyri, and between the superior posterior cerebellum and left dorsolateral PFC. Greater disease severity correlated with lower connectivity in these circuits. Lower anterior cerebellum-motor cortex functional connectivity also correlated with slower speeded finger tapping and less fractional anisotropy in the superior cerebellar peduncles, internal capsule, and precentral white matter in the FRDA cohort. There were no significant between-group differences in inferior posterior cerebellar or dentate nucleus connectivity. This study indicates that altered cerebello-cerebral functional connectivity is associated with functional status and white matter damage in cerebellar efferent pathways in people with FRDA, particularly in motor circuits.

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