Hippocampus and amygdala in schizophrenia: assessment of the relationship of neuroanatomy to psychopathology

Psychiatry Res. 2001 Nov 30;108(2):79-87. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(01)00120-2.


The hippocampus and amygdala are believed to be involved in the pathology of schizophrenia. In this study, we attempted to replicate the reported bilateral volume reduction of the hippocampus and amygdala and to study the relationship of the volumes of these structures to the symptoms of schizophrenia. The hippocampus-amygdala complex (HAC) was manually traced on 3-mm coronal T(1)-weighted MRIs, resampled into 1-mm coronal slices, from 20 male patients with schizophrenia and 20 age-matched male controls. The complex was divided into three parts: anterior one-third representing the amygdala and middle and posterior thirds representing the anterior and posterior halves of the hippocampus. Positive and negative symptoms and severity of hallucinations and thought disorder (conceptual disorganization) were quantified using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). None of the above structures, controlled for brain volume, differed significantly in patients compared with normal controls. When the relationship between volumes and symptoms was examined, the left HAC was found to inversely correlate with thought disorder and negative symptoms. Specifically, significant inverse correlations were found between (i) left amygdala and thought disorder, (ii) left hippocampus and negative symptoms, and (iii) left anterior and posterior hippocampus volumes and positive and negative symptoms, respectively. Our findings further support the role of the HAC in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and suggest unique associations between individual structures and specific symptoms of the illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / pathology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reference Values
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Thinking / physiology