Hippocampal and amygdala volumes in children and adults with childhood maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis

Fu L. Woon, Dawson W. Hedges

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

295 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little work has directly examined the course of hippocampal volume in children and adults with childhood maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Data from adults suggest that hippocampal volume deficits are associated with PTSD, whereas findings from children with PTSD generally show no hippocampal volume deficits in PTSD. Additionally, the role of the amygdala in emotional response makes it a possible region for investigation in children and adults with childhood maltreatment-related PTSD. The objectives of this study were 2-fold: (1) to meta-analytically determine whether hippocampal and amygdala volumes in children and adults with PTSD from childhood maltreatment differ from those in healthy controls, and (2) to use cross-sectional findings performed with meta-analyses as a proxy for longitudinal studies to estimate the course of hippocampal and amygdala volumes in child and adult subjects with PTSD from childhood maltreatment. Using electronic databases, we identified articles containing hippocampal and amygdala data for children with PTSD and adults with PTSD from childhood maltreatment. Data were extracted and effect sizes were calculated using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 2.0. Reduced bilateral hippocampal volume was found in adults with childhood maltreatment-related PTSD compared with healthy controls, but this deficit was not seen in children with maltreatment-related PTSD, suggesting hippocampal volume deficits from childhood maltreatment may not be apparent until adulthood. Greater left than right hippocampal volume was found in the adult healthy control group but not in the PTSD group. Amygdala volume in children with maltreatment-related PTSD did not differ from that in healthy controls. Hippocampal volume is normal in children with maltreatment-related PTSD but not in adults with PTSD from childhood maltreatment, suggesting an initially volumetrically normal hippocampus with subsequent abnormal volumetric development occurring after trauma exposure. However, longitudinal studies are needed to support these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalHippocampus
Volume18
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Hippocampus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Metaanalysis
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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