Quantitative MRI of the temporal lobe, amygdala, and hippocampus in normal human development: ages 4-18 years

J Comp Neurol. 1996 Mar 4;366(2):223-30. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9861(19960304)366:2<223::AID-CNE3>3.0.CO;2-7.


The volume of the temporal lobe, superior temporal gyrus, amygdala, and hippocampus was quantified from magnetic images of the brains of 99 healthy children and adolescents aged 4-18 years. Variability in volume was high for all structures examined. When adjusted for a 9% larger total cerebral volume in males, there were no significant volume differences between sexes. However, sex-specific maturational changes were noted in the volumes of medial temporal structures, with the left amygdala increasing significantly only in males and with the right hippocampus increasing significantly only in females. Right-greater-than-left laterality effects were found for temporal lobe, superior temporal gyrus, amygdala, and hippocampal volumes. These results are consistent with previous preclinical and human studies that have indicated hormonal responsivity of these structures and extend quantitative morphologic findings from the adult literature. In addition to highlighting the need for large samples and sex-matched controls in pediatric neuroimaging studies, the information from this understudied age group may be of use in evaluating developmental hypotheses of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging / physiology
  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / growth & development
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hippocampus / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Temporal Lobe / growth & development