Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2018 Feb;16(1):46-56. 10.9758/cpn.2018.16.1.46.

Hippocampal Subfields Volume Reduction in High Schoolers with Previous Verbal Abuse Experiences

  • 1Computational Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 3Department of Electrical Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Daejeon St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 6Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA.
  • 7KAIST Institute for Health Science and Technology, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: Reduced hippocampal volume and alterations in white matter tracts have been frequently reported in adults having the history of emotional maltreatment. We investigated whether these structural change occur in adolescents with previous verbal abuse (VA) experiences.
Hippocampal subfield volume and white matter structural connectivity measures were assessed in 31 first year male high school students with various degrees of exposure to parental and peer VA.
The high VA group showed significant volume reduction in the left cornu ammonis (CA) 1 and left subiculum compared to the low VA group (p < 0.05). Volumes of left hippocampal subfields CA1 and subiculum were negatively correlated with previous VA experiences (p < 0.05). Increased mean diffusivity (MD) of the splenium of the corpus callosum was related to high VA score across all subjects (p < 0.05). There was an inverse relationship between volume of the CA1 and subiculum and MD of the splenium (p < 0.05).
Exposure to parental and peer VA may affect development of the left hippocampal subfields and the splenium of corpus callosum. These structural alterations can be discernible during adolescence.


Hippocampus; Diffusion tensor imaging; Parenting; Adolescent
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