What is it about?

We found smaller initial hippocampal volumes in individuals who developed PTSD, compared to those who recovered from initial symptoms, specifically in the subiculum and CA1 subregions. Also, those individuals had larger amygdala volumes. However, there were no volumetric changes over time, from 1-month to 14 months post-trauma, across all participants or between groups.

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Why is it important?

Because while reduced hippocampus and amygdala volumes have been repeatedly documented in PTSD patients, we don't really know whether they reflect a pre-trauma vulnerability trait or post-exposure consequence. Our results support the “vulnerability trait” hypothesis, suggesting that lower initial volumes of specific hippocampus subregions are associated with non-remitting PTSD, and do not support the stable idea of consequential, progressive, stress-related atrophy during the first critical year following trauma exposure.


While the initial differences in subregions volumes are interesting, I think the novelty of this work is by demonstrating stable volumes of hippocampus and amygdala subregions during the first 14 months following trauma exposure, within a large sample of individuals using a longitudinal within-subject design.

Dr. Ziv Ben-Zion
Yale University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Longitudinal volumetric evaluation of hippocampus and amygdala subregions in recent trauma survivors, Molecular Psychiatry, October 2022, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1038/s41380-022-01842-x.
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