Hippocampal and ventricular volumes in psychotic and nonpsychotic bipolar patients compared with schizophrenia patients and community control subjects: a pilot study

Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Mar 15;57(6):633-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.12.009.


Background: Previous reports of ventricular and hippocampal volumes in patients with bipolar disorder (BP) have been inconsistent in their findings. One possibility is that volumetric abnormalities are determined by disease subtype. Prior evidence suggests that psychotic (PBP) and nonpsychotic (NPBP) forms of BP are two subtypes that might differ in pathophysiology.

Methods: We investigated ventricular and hippocampal volumes in 38 adults with clearly defined PBP (n = 23) and NPBP subtypes, compared with 33 persons with schizophrenia (SZ) and 44 healthy community control subjects (HC). Ventricular and hippocampal volumes were reliably measured on high-resolution anatomic magnetic resonance imaging scans. We used a multivariate analysis of covariance to compare volumes across groups, covarying for total brain volume. Potential effects of BP illness features were explored, contrasting PBP and NPBP.

Results: For ventricular but not hippocampal regions, we found significant volume difference in PBP but not NPBP compared with HC (p < .005). We also observed nonsignificantly smaller left hippocampal volumes in PBP versus HC. Schizophrenic subjects had significantly larger ventricular and smaller left hippocampal volumes than HC.

Conclusions: These results suggest that PBP but not NPBP is associated with increased ventricle volumes and a trend toward smaller left hippocampal volumes, as observed in SZ.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications
  • Bipolar Disorder / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications
  • Psychotic Disorders / pathology*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*