Hippocampal tail volume as a predictive biomarker of antidepressant treatment outcomes in patients with major depressive disorder: a CAN-BIND report

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020 Jan;45(2):283-291. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0542-1. Epub 2019 Oct 14.


Finding a clinically useful neuroimaging biomarker that can predict treatment response in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) is challenging, in part because of poor reproducibility and generalizability of findings across studies. Previous work has suggested that posterior hippocampal volumes in depressed patients may be associated with antidepressant treatment outcomes. The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine further whether posterior hippocampal volumes predict remission following antidepressant treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from 196 patients with MDD and 110 healthy participants were obtained as part of the first study in the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression program (CAN-BIND 1) in which patients were treated for 16 weeks with open-label medication. Hippocampal volumes were measured using both a manual segmentation protocol and FreeSurfer 6.0. Baseline hippocampal tail (Ht) volumes were significantly smaller in patients with depression compared to healthy participants. Larger baseline Ht volumes were positively associated with remission status at weeks 8 and 16. Participants who achieved early sustained remission had significantly greater Ht volumes compared to those who did not achieve remission by week 16. Ht volume is a prognostic biomarker for antidepressant treatment outcomes in patients with MDD.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnostic imaging*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents