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.