Anterior and posterior hippocampal volumes in schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2005 Feb 1;73(1):103-12. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2004.05.018.


Background: While the evidence for hippocampal structural abnormalities in schizophrenia is now well accepted, whether there is differentially greater volume loss within specific subregions of the hippocampus remains a matter of some debate. Here we present volume estimates of anterior and posterior hippocampal volumes using a novel morphometric protocol.

Methods: We studied 25 male patients with schizophrenia and 25 age-matched male control subjects. Hippocampal volumes were estimated using a three-dimensional morphometric protocol for the analysis of high-resolution structural magnetic resonance images (MRI). Anterior hippocampal volumes were differentiated from posterior hippocampal volumes by the presence of the uncus in coronal slices.

Results: While the patients with schizophrenia had significantly smaller overall hippocampal volumes relative to the control group, there was no evidence for a topographically specific pattern of volume loss along the anterior-posterior hippocampal axis.

Conclusions: These results confirm the presence of overall hippocampal volume decreases in patients with schizophrenia, but do not confirm a topographically specific localization of this effect. It appears that the hippocampal volume deficit in schizophrenia is diffuse, a finding that has important consequences for understanding the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms in schizophrenia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Hippocampus / abnormalities*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Severity of Illness Index