While the hippocampus remains a region of high interest for neuropsychiatric research, the precise contributors to hippocampal morphometry are still not well understood. We and others previously reported a hippocampus specific effect of a tescalcin gene (TESC) regulating single nucleotide polymorphism (rs7294919) on gray matter volume. Here we aimed to replicate and extend these findings. Two complementary morphometric approaches (voxel based morphometry (VBM) and automated volumetric segmentation) were applied in a well-powered cohort from the Marburg-Münster Affective Disorder Cohort Study (MACS) including N=1137 participants (n=636 healthy controls, n=501 depressed patients). rs7294919 homozygous T-allele genotype was significantly associated with lower hippocampal gray matter density as well as with reduced hippocampal volume. Exploratory whole brain VBM analyses revealed no further associations with gray matter volume outside the hippocampus. No interaction effects of rs7294919 with depression nor with childhood trauma on hippocampal morphometry could be detected. Hippocampal subfield analyses revealed similar effects of rs7294919 in all hippocampal subfields. In sum, our results replicate a hippocampus specific effect of rs7294919 on brain structure. Due to the robust evidence for a pronounced association between the reported polymorphism and hippocampal morphometry, future research should consider investigating the potential clinical and functional relevance of the reported association.
Keywords: Depression; Genetics; Hippocampus; MRI; Tescalcin.
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