Animal studies suggest an involvement of CA3 and dentate gyrus (CA3&DG) in memory encoding and early retrieval and an involvement of CA1 in late retrieval, consolidation and recognition. The aim of this study was to test if similar associations could be found between hippocampal subfield volumes measured in vivo using a manual parcellation scheme and selected scores of the California Verbal Learning Test II (CVLTII): total immediate free recall discriminability (IFRD), short free recall discriminability (SFRD), and delayed recall discriminability (DRD). 50 elderly subjects (25 controls and 25 cognitively impaired subjects) had CVLTII and high resolution hippocampal MRI at 4T. Entorhinal cortex, subiculum, CA1, CA1-CA2 transition zone, and CA3&DG were manually marked on five slices in the anterior hippocampal body on the MRI. Pearson correlations followed by stepwise regression analysis were used to test for associations between subfield volumes and CVLTII. IFRD and SFRD, which are measures of encoding/early retrieval, were associated with CA3&DG, and DRD, which measures consolidation/late retrieval, with CA1. These preliminary findings demonstrate that subfield volumetry has the potential to study non invasively subfield specific memory functions.
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