Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Psychol Med. 2010 Apr;40(4):557-67. doi: 10.1017/S0033291709990821. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Evidence for structural abnormalities of the human habenular complex in affective disorders but not in schizophrenia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The habenular complex is composed of important relay nuclei linking the limbic forebrain to the midbrain and brain stem nuclei. Based on clinical observations, experiments with animals and theoretical considerations, it has been speculated that this brain area might be involved in psychiatric diseases (i.e. schizophrenia and depression). However, evidence in favour of this hypothesis is still lacking because the human habenular complex has rarely been studied with regard to mental illness.

METHOD:

We examined habenular volumes in post-mortem brains of 17 schizophrenia patients, 14 patients with depression (six patients with major depression and eight patients with bipolar depression) and 13 matched controls. We further determined the neuronal density, cell number and cell area of the medial habenular nuclei of the same cohorts using a counting box and a computer-assisted instrument.

RESULTS:

Significantly reduced habenular volumes of the medial and lateral habenula were estimated in depressive patients in comparison to normal controls and schizophrenia patients. We also found a reduction in neuronal cell number and cell area in depressive patients for the right side compared to controls and schizophrenia patients. No such changes were seen in schizophrenia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our anatomical data argue against prominent structural alterations of the habenular nuclei in schizophrenia but demonstrate robust alterations in depressive patients. We are currently applying immunohistochemical markers to better characterize neuronal subpopulations of this brain region in schizophrenia and depression.

PMID:
19671211
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Cambridge University Press
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk