Study on the sub-regions volume of hippocampus and amygdala in schizophrenia

Fenglian Zheng, Chuntong Li, Dongsheng Zhang, Dong Cui, Zhipeng Wang, Jianfeng Qiu


Background: Many studies have found volume changes in the hippocampus and amygdala in patients with schizophrenia, but these findings have not reached an agreement. Particularly, few results showed the volumes of the sub-regions of the amygdala. In this research, we aim to clarify volume changes of hippocampus and amygdala sub-regions in patients with schizophrenia.
Methods: The sample consisted of 69 patients with schizophrenia and 72 control subjects aged from 18 to 65 years. FreeSurfer 6.0 software was used on T1-weighted images to assess the volumes of hippocampus and amygdala and their sub-regions. The general linear model (GLM) was used to analyze the volume changes between the two groups. False discovery rate (FDR) correction was performed, and the significance level was set at 0.05.
Results: The hippocampus volume in schizophrenia showed reduction compared to healthy control (P<0.05). Several hippocampal subfields showed smaller volume in schizophrenia patients, including bilateral presubiculum and molecular layer, left hippocampal tail, subiculum and cornus ammonis (CA)1, and right parasubiculum (P<0.05). Left amygdala volume showed a decrease as well, sub-regions including the bilateral basal nucleus, anterior-amygdaloid-area (AAA), paralaminar nucleus and left lateral nucleus (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Several sub-regions of hippocampus and amygdala showed a volumetric decline in patients group, which suggest the key roles of these regions in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Based on these results, we speculate that these regions could be used to assess the early finding of schizophrenia.