A pilot longitudinal study of hippocampal volumes in pediatric maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Aug 15;50(4):305-9. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(01)01105-2.


Background: Adult posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with decreased hippocampal volumes; however, decreased hippocampal volumes were not seen in pediatric maltreatment-related PTSD. We examined hippocampal volumes longitudinally to determine if a history of childhood traumatic stress alters hippocampal growth during puberty.

Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure temporal lobes, amygdala, and hippocampal volumes in nine prepubertal maltreated subjects with pediatric maltreatment-related PTSD and nine sociodemographically matched healthy nonmaltreated yoked control subjects at baseline and after at least 2 years follow-up (during the later stages of pubertal development) using identical equipment and measurement methodology.

Results: Temporal lobe, amygdala and hippocampal volumes did not differ between groups at baseline, follow-up, or across time.

Conclusions: Whereas these data are from a small sample, the results do not support hippocampal changes in pediatric maltreatment-related PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hippocampus / abnormalities*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology