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Psychiatry Res. 2010 Apr 30;182(1):67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.11.005. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Volumetry of the human amygdala - an anatomical study.

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Institute of Anatomy, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.


A striking feature of the studies that have addressed the measurement of the amygdala is the wide range of volumes encountered, with reports of volumes ranging from 1 to almost 4 cm(3). Another striking feature is the number of discrepancies in the landmarks adopted for manual tracing in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The goal of our study was to assess the anatomical volume of the amygdala on the basis of its cytoarchitecture while comparing the differences in age and sex. This study was performed on 21 normal male brains (mean age of 56.8 years) and 9 normal female brains (mean age of 61.2 years). The volume of the amygdala was measured by planimetry of Nissl-stained serial sections using ImageJ software. To address the complexity of the amygdala, we elected to use two types of amygdalar measurement that differ mainly in the definition of anterior pole boundaries. The average size of the classic amygdala was 1.24 cm(3) (S.D.=0.14), while the average size of the amygdala with wider borders was 1.63 cm(3) (S.D.=0.2). No interhemispheric or intersexual differences were observed for either type of amygdalar measurement. Neither sex revealed any statistically important relationship between volume of the amygdala and age. Our study was concerned exclusively with the anatomical volume of the amygdala rather than the MRI volume. Nevertheless, our results may have important implications for MRI studies because as of yet there is no gold standard for manual volumetry of the amygdala.

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