Basolateral amygdala volume and cell numbers in major depressive disorder: a postmortem stereological study.
Functional imaging studies consistently report abnormal amygdala activity in major depressive disorder (MDD). Neuroanatomical correlates are less clear: imaging studies have produced mixed results on amygdala volume, and postmortem neuroanatomic studies have only examined cell densities in portions of the amygdala or its subregions in MDD. Here, we present a stereological analysis of the volume of, and the total number of, neurons, glia, and neurovascular (pericyte and endothelial) cells in the basolateral amygdala in MDD. Postmortem tissues from 13 subjects with MDD and 10 controls were examined. Sections (~15/subject) taken throughout the rostral-caudal extent of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) were stained for Nissl substance and utilized for stereological estimation of volume and cell numbers. Results indicate that depressed subjects had a larger lateral nucleus than controls and a greater number of total BLA neurovascular cells than controls. There were no differences in the number or density of neurons or glia between depressed and control subjects. These findings present a more detailed picture of BLA cellular anatomy in depression than has previously been available. Further studies are needed to determine whether the greater number of neurovascular cells in depressed subjects may be related to increased amygdala activity in depression.
Rubinow, MJ; Mahajan, G; May, W; Overholser, JC; Jurjus, GJ; Dieter, L; Herbst, N; Steffens, DC; Miguel-Hidalgo, JJ; Rajkowska, G; Stockmeier, CA
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