Hippocampal volume across age: Nomograms derived from over 19,700 people in UK Biobank

Neuroimage Clin. 2019;23:101904. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101904. Epub 2019 Jun 19.


Measurement of hippocampal volume has proven useful to diagnose and track progression in several brain disorders, most notably in Alzheimer's disease (AD). For example, an objective evaluation of a patient's hippocampal volume status may provide important information that can assist diagnosis or risk stratification of AD. However, clinicians and researchers require access to age-related normative percentiles to reliably categorise a patient's hippocampal volume as being pathologically small. Here we analysed effects of age, sex, and hemisphere on the hippocampus and neighbouring temporal lobe volumes, in 19,793 generally healthy participants in the UK Biobank. A key finding of the current study is a significant acceleration in the rate of hippocampal volume loss in middle age, more pronounced in females than in males. In this report, we provide normative values for hippocampal and total grey matter volume as a function of age for reference in clinical and research settings. These normative values may be used in combination with our online, automated percentile estimation tool to provide a rapid, objective evaluation of an individual's hippocampal volume status. The data provide a large-scale normative database to facilitate easy age-adjusted determination of where an individual hippocampal and temporal lobe volume lies within the normal distribution.

Keywords: Atrophy; Brain ageing; MRI; Normative values; Sex differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Nomograms*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics
  • United Kingdom