A postmortem assessment of mammillary body volume, neuronal number and densities, and fornix volume in subjects with mood disorders.
ABSTRACT Mammillary bodies are relay nuclei within limbic and extralimbic connections. Whereas other subcortical brain structures have been found to be altered in depression, no current information exists regarding the pathomorphology of mammillary bodies in affective disorders. We studied the postmortem brains of 19 human subjects with mood disorders (9 with major depressive disorder and 10 with bipolar I disorder) and 20 control individuals and assessed the mammillary body and fornix volumes, number of neurons and neuronal densities. We found that male control subjects have significantly larger mammillary bodies compared with females. In addition, control subjects of both sexes with the diagnosis/cause of death of "heart failure/insufficiency" had significantly smaller mammillary body volumes compared with non-psychiatric patients who died from other causes. When estimating the mammillary bodies volumes of patients with depression compared with control subjects, a significant reduction of the left mammillary body volume was found in patients with bipolar disorder, but not in patients with major depression. However, significant depression-associated mammillary body volume reductions were found between the control subjects who did not die of heart failure and patients with major depression and bipolar disorder. Moreover, the MB volumes of control subjects who died of heart failure were in the range exhibited by subjects with depression. There was no significant influence of suicidal behavior on mammillary volumes observed. Moreover, no significant group differences in the total neuronal number or neuronal density were found between the controls, subjects with major depression and subjects with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the fornix volumes were significantly reduced only in the control subjects with heart failure. Taken together, these results show that the mammillary bodies are compromised in depression.
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ABSTRACT: The hypothalamus and its subdivisions are involved in many neuropsychiatric conditions such as affective disorders, schizophrenia, or narcolepsy, but parcellations of hypothalamic subnuclei have hitherto been feasible only with histological techniques in postmortem brains. In an attempt to map subdivisions of the hypothalamus in vivo, we analyzed the directionality information from high-resolution diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images of healthy volunteers. We acquired T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted scans in ten healthy subjects at 3 T. In the T1-weighted images, we manually delineated an individual mask of the hypothalamus in each subject and computed in the co-registered diffusion-weighted images the similarity of the principal diffusion direction for each pair of mask voxels. By clustering the similarity matrix into three regions with a k-means algorithm, we obtained an anatomically coherent arrangement of subdivisions across hemispheres and subjects. In each hypothalamus mask, we found an anterior region with dorsoventral principal diffusion direction, a posteromedial region with rostro-caudal direction, and a lateral region with mediolateral direction. A comparative analysis with microstructural hypothalamus parcellations from the literature reveals that each of these regions corresponds to a specific group of hypothalamic subnuclei as defined in postmortem brains. This is to our best knowledge the first in vivo study that attempts a delineation of hypothalamic subdivisions by clustering diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging data. When applied in a larger sample of neuropsychiatric patients, a structural analysis of hypothalamic subnuclei should contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric conditions such as affective disorders.European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 01/2013; · 2.75 Impact Factor