Hippocampal and amygdalar volume changes in elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia

Annapaola Prestia, Marina Boccardi, Samantha Galluzzi, Enrica Cavedo, Andrea Adorni, Andrea Soricelli, Matteo Bonetti, Cristina Geroldi, Panteleimon Giannakopoulos, Paul Thompson, Giovanni Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and schizophrenia display cognitive, behavioural disturbances and morphological abnormalities. Although these latter reflect progressive neurodegeneration in AD, their significance in schizophrenia is still unclear. We explored the patterns of hippocampal and amygdalar atrophy in those patients and their associations with clinical parameters. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 20 elderly schizophrenia patients, 20 AD and 19 healthy older controls. Hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were obtained by manual segmentation with a standardized protocol and compared among groups. In both schizophrenia and AD patients, left hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were significantly smaller. The hippocampus/amygdala ratio was significantly lower in schizophrenia compared to both AD cases [2.4 bilaterally, 95% C.I. 2.2 to 2.7] and healthy controls bilaterally [2.5, 95% C.I. 2.3 to 2.9 in left and 2.7, 95% C.I. 2.4 to 3.1 in right hemisphere]. In schizophrenia patients, a significant positive correlation was found between age at disease onset and the right hippocampus/amygdala volume ratio (Spearman rho = 0.56). Negative symptoms correlated with higher right/left amygdala volume ratio (Spearman's rho = 0.43). Our data show that unlike AD, the hippocampus/amygdala ratio is abnormally low and correlates with the age at onset in schizophrenia, being a neurodevelopmental signature of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 31 2011


  • AD
  • Amygdala
  • Hippocampus
  • Morphological ratio
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)

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