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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Nov 15;64(10):901-3. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Influence of vascular endothelial growth factor variation on human hippocampus morphology.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.



Morphological abnormalities in hippocampus have been implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and dementia. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been demonstrated to have neurogenic effects in the hippocampus in rats. However, influence of VEGF variation on hippocampus morphology in humans has yet to be shown. Here, an integrated genetic and neuroimaging approach was used to investigate whether VEGF variation influences hippocampus morphology in humans.


High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry were used to identify the influence of genetic variation of VEGFA [rs833068 (SNP-1), rs833070 (SNP-2), rs2146323 (SNP-3) and rs3025020 (SNP-4)] on brain morphology in 47 healthy individuals.


Variation in VEGFA SNP-2 and SNP-3 showed significant effects on hippocampus concentration.


The findings suggest that effects of VEGF in hippocampus found in rats extend to humans; further understanding of effects of VEGFA variation might have important implications in identifying individuals more vulnerable to hippocampus pathology as well as those neuropsychiatric populations most likely to benefit from VEGF-mediated interventions.

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