Volume alteration of hippocampal subfields in first-episode antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia patients before and after acute antipsychotic treatment

Wenbin Li, Kaiming Li, Pujun Guan, Ying Chen, Yuan Xiao, Su Lui, John A. Sweeney, Qiyong Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The nature of hippocampal changes in schizophrenia before first treatment, and whether hippocampal subfields are affected by antipsychotic treatment are important questions for schizophrenia research. Forty-one first-episode antipsychotic-naïve acutely ill schizophrenia inpatients had MRI scans before and six weeks after antipsychotic treatment. Thirty-nine matched healthy controls were also scanned, twenty-two of which were scanned a second time six weeks later. Volumes of hippocampal subfields were measured via FreeSurfer v6.0 using a longitudinal analysis pipeline. Before treatment, schizophrenia patients had no significant changes in total hippocampal volume but exhibited significantly greater subfield volumes than controls in bilateral molecular layers of the hippocampus (ML), bilateral granular cell layers of the dentate gyrus (GC-DG), and bilateral cornu ammonis area 4 (CA4). After six weeks of antipsychotic treatment, patients showed volume reductions compared with pretreatment scans in total hippocampus bilaterally, with subfield volume reduction noted in previously enlarged subfields (i.e., bilateral ML, GC-DG and CA4) and in bilateral hippocampal tails, left CA1, CA3, and fimbria. Subfields with volume increases before treatment were reduced to the level of healthy controls (bilateral ML and GC-DG) or near to it (bilateral CA4) after treatment. These results indicate subfield-specific hippocampal hypertrophy prior to treatment, and that these abnormalities were reduced after acute antipsychotic therapy in a dose-related manner together with volume reductions in other areas that were not hypertrophic before treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia
  • Antipsychotics
  • Hippocampal subfields
  • Psychoradiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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