Reduced anterior hippocampal formation volume in hyponatremic schizophrenic patients

Morris B. Goldman*, I. J. Torres, S. Keedy, M. Marlow-O'Connor, B. Beenken, R. Pilla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Diminished hippocampal volume occurs in the anterior segment of some schizophrenic patients, and in the posterior segment in others. The significance of hippocampal pathology in general and these segmental differences in specific is not known. Several lines of evidence suggest anterior hippocampal pathology underlies the life-threatening hyponatremia seen in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia; therefore our goal was to determine if this region was preferentially diminished in hyponatremic patients. We studied seven polydipsic hyponatremic, ten polydipsic normonatremic, and nine nonpolydipsic normonatremic schizophrenic inpatients, as well as 12 healthy controls. All underwent structural scanning on a high resolution (3.0 T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Hippocampal formation, amygdala, and third ventricle volumes were manually traced in each subject. The hippocampus was divided at the posterior extent of the uncus, and all structural volumes were corrected for whole brain volume and other significant recognized factors (i.e., age, gender, height, parental education). Despite being overhydrated, anterior hippocampal formation volume was diminished in those with polydipsia and hyponatremia relative to each of the other three groups. Third ventricle volume was larger in this group than in healthy controls but similar to the two patient groups. Posterior hippocampal and amygdala volumes did not differ between groups. Other potential confounds (e.g., water imbalance) either had no effect or accentuated these differences. We conclude the anterior hippocampal formation is smaller in hyponatremic schizophrenic patients, thereby linking an important and objective clinical feature of schizophrenia to a neural pathway that can be investigated in animal models. The findings strengthen the hypothesis that anterior hippocampal formation pathology disrupts functional connectivity with other limbic structures in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-562
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2007


  • MRI
  • Neuroendocrine
  • Schizophrenia
  • Water intoxication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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