Amygdala and hippocampal volumes in familial early onset major depressive disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 15;63(4):385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.005. Epub 2007 Jul 20.


Background: Abnormalities in the amygdala and hippocampus have been implicated in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). To our knowledge, no prior study has examined amygdala-hippocampus anatomy in pediatric patients with familial MDD (at least one first degree relative with MDD).

Methods: Thirty-two psychotropic-naive patients with familial MDD, aged 8-21 years (12 males and 20 females), and 35 group-matched healthy participants (13 males and 22 females) underwent volumetric magnetic resonance imaging in order to evaluate hippocampal and amygdala volumes.

Results: Patients with familial MDD had significantly smaller left hippocampal (p = .007, effect size [d] = .44) and right hippocampal volumes (p = .025, d = .33) than controls. No differences were noted in amygdala volumes between groups (right: p > .05, left: p > .05). No correlations between hippocampal or amygdala volumes and demographic or clinical variables were noted.

Conclusions: Reduced hippocampal volume may be suggestive of a risk factor for developing MDD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Time Factors