Background: Schizophrenia is associated with structural and functional abnormalities of the hippocampus, which have been suggested to play an important role in the formation and emergence of schizophrenia syndrome. Patients with schizophrenia exhibit significant bilateral hippocampal volume reduction and progressive hippocampal volume decrease in first-episode patients with schizophrenia has been shown in many neuroimaging studies. Dysfunction of the neurotrophic system has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The initiation of antipsychotic medication alters the levels of serum Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels. However it is unclear whether treatment with antipsychotics is associated with alterations of hippocampal volume and BDNF levels.
Methods: In the present longitudinal study we investigated the association between serum BDNF levels and hippocampal volumes in a sample of fourteen first-episode drug-naive patients with schizophrenia (FEP). MRI scans, BDNF and clinical measurements were performed twice: at baseline before the initiation of antipsychotic treatment and 8 months later, while the patients were receiving monotherapy with second generation antipsychotics (SGAs).
Results: We found that left hippocampal volume was decreased (corrected left HV [t = 2.977, df = 13, p = .011] at follow-up; We also found that the higher the BDNF levels change the higher were the differences of corrected left hippocampus after 8 months of treatment with atypical antipsychotics (Pearson r = 0.597, p = 0.024).
Conclusions: The association of BDNF with hippocampal volume alterations in schizophrenia merits further investigation and replication in larger longitudinal studies.
- LONG-TERM TREATMENT
- NEUROTROPHIC FACTOR
- BIPOLAR DISORDER