Sub-regional hippocampal volumes in first-episode drug-naïve major depression disorder

Mu N. Liu, Jakobus Gerick Pantouw, Kai Chun Yang, Li Yu Hu, Ying Jay Liou, Jiing Feng Lirng, Yuan Hwa Chou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Hippocampal volume reduction was reported to underlie depressive symptomatology, however, the evidence to date remains inconsistent. For the complex intrinsic organization of hippocampus, the hippocampal volumes can be further divided into subfields or axial parts. The current study aimed to explore the alterations of hippocampal sub-regional volumes in first episode drug-naïve major depressive disorder (MDD) by two segmentation methods. Thirty-five first-episode drug-naïve MDD and 35 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) were recruited. Volumes of three sub-regions of hippocampus along the longitudinal axis (head, body and tail) were analyzed manually and eight transverse subfields were automatically determined using FreeSurfer. An asymmetric index (AI) of volumes was defined as (∣Left − Right∣/∣Left + Right∣) * 100. There were significant reductions in the volumes of bilateral hippocampal head in MDD compared to HC. The volumes of eight subfields were not different between groups. MDD patients had higher AI values in the subfield of cornu ammonis 4/dentate gyrus than HC. The change in hippocampal sub-regional volumes might be an imaging biomarker in the first-episode, drug-naïve patients with MDD. Current findings may contribute to developing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for major depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136178
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2021


  • Asymmetry index
  • Hippocampal volume
  • Major depression disorder
  • Subfields


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