Depressed suicide attempters have smaller hippocampus than depressed patients without suicide attempts

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Despite known relationship between hippocampal volumes and major depressive episodes (MDE) and the increased suicidality in MDE, the links between hippocampal volumes and suicidality remain unclear in major depressive disorders (MDD). If the hippocampus could be a biomarker of suicide attempts in depression, it could be useful for prevention matters. This study assessed the association between hippocampal volumes and suicide attempts in MDD. METHODS: Hippocampal volumes assessed with automatic segmentation were compared in 63 patients with MDD, with (n = 24) or without (n = 39) suicide attempts. Acute (one month) suicide attempts were studied. RESULTS: Although not different in terms of socio-demographic, MDD and MDE clinical features, suicide attempters had lower total hippocampus volumes than non-attempters (4.61 (±1.15) cm3 vs 5.22 (±0.99) cm3; w = 625.5; p = 0.03), especially for acute suicide attempts (4.19 (±0.81) cm3 vs 5.22 (±0.99) cm3; w = 334; p = 0.005), even after adjustment on brain volumes, sex, age, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) scores and MDD duration. A ROC analysis showed that a total hippocampal volume threshold of 5.00 cm3 had a 98.2% negative predictive value for acute suicide attempts. CONCLUSION: Depressed suicide attempters have smaller hippocampus than depressed patients without suicide attempts, independently from socio-demographics and MDD characteristics. This difference is related to acute suicide attempts but neither to past suicide attempts nor to duration since the first suicide attempt, suggesting that hippocampal volume could be a suicidal state marker in MDE. Further studies are required to better understand this association.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 23, 2015 - 4:49:29 PM
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Romain Colle, Marie Chupin, Claire Cury, Christophe Vandendrie, Florence Gressier, et al.. Depressed suicide attempters have smaller hippocampus than depressed patients without suicide attempts. Journal of Psychiatric Research, Elsevier, 2015, 61, pp.6. ⟨10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.12.010⟩. ⟨hal-01108928⟩

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