Hippocampal volume and cell number in depression, schizophrenia, and suicide subjects

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Many studies suggest that the hippocampus is involved in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, especially major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia. Especially, in vivo imaging studies indicate that the volume of hippocampus may be reduced in both disorders. Moreover, suicide may have a unique neurobiology. The aim of the present study is to investigate if depression, schizophrenia or suicide is associated with reduced postmortem volume of the hippocampal formation and/or changes in the numbers of neurons and/or glial cells in the different subregions of the hippocampus. We studied postmortem brain samples from 10 subjects with schizophrenia, 8 subjects with major depression, 11 suicide subjects with a history of depressive disorder, and 10 control subjects with no history of psychiatric or neurological diseases. The total volume and numbers of neurons and glial cells were estimated for the main hippocampal subregions using design-unbiased stereological techniques. We found the total volume and total numbers of neurons and glial cells similarly reduced by approximately 20% to 35% in depression and schizophrenia subjects relative to control subjects across all hippocampal regions. In suicide subjects, we only found increased neuron number in CA2/3 subregion. The volume and number of cells are reduced in depression and schizophrenia subjects relative to control subjects across all hippocampal regions. Our findings imply that the hippocampus may be a common site of pathophysiology in depression and schizophrenia. Community living suicide subjects seem to differ in hippocampal neurobiology compared to hospitalized subjects dying with MDD without suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146546
JournalBrain Research
Volume1727
Number of pages15
ISSN0006-8993
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Cell number, Depression, Hippocampus, Post mortem, Schizophrenia, Suicide

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