Reduced hippocampal volume in unmedicated, remitted patients with major depression versus control subjects

Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Apr 15;57(8):935-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.01.016.


Background: Hippocampal volumes obtained from a group of medication-free, remitted subjects with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) were compared against corresponding measures from healthy controls.

Methods: Thirty-one subjects with recurrent MDD in full remission, and 57 healthy controls underwent high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on a GE 3T scanner. Eight patients with MDD were medication-naive, and twenty-three MDD patients were off antidepressant medications for a mean of 30 months at the time of the MRI study.

Results: Patients showed smaller total and posterior hippocampal volume relative to controls. Anterior hippocampal volume did not differ between patients and controls.

Conclusions: Recurrent depression is associated with smaller hippocampal volume which is most prominent in the posterior hippocampus. Smaller hippocampal volume appears to be a trait characteristic for MDD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Remission, Spontaneous