Increased amygdala volumes in female and depressed humans. A quantitative magnetic resonance imaging study

Neurosci Lett. 2000 Mar 10;281(2-3):103-6. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(00)00815-6.


The amygdala are thought to play an important role in emotional information processing. First studies indicate a link between amygdala atrophy, fear and aggression and between amygdala hypertrophy and depression. To investigate a possible relationship between amygdala volumes, aggression and depression, we measured the amygdala of 62 patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with and without aggressive behavior or depression and 20 healthy volunteers using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Amygdala volumes of female patients (n=26) were significantly larger than those of males (n=36) (left side: P=0.001; right side P=0.05). Depressed patients displayed significant enlargement of both amygdala (left side: P=0.008; right side: P=0.001) There was no significant finding relating to the factor aggression neither was there any significant interaction between aggression, dysthymia and gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression
  • Amygdala / pathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / pathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors