Stress, inflammation and hippocampal subfields in depression: A 7 Tesla MRI Study

Jonika Tannous, Beata R. Godlewska, Vaishali Tirumalaraju, Jair C. Soares, Phil J. Cowen, Sudhakar Selvaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Experiencing stressful events throughout one’s life, particularly childhood trauma, increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Raised levels of cortisol, and markers of inflammation such as Interleukin (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP), have been linked to both early life stress and MDD. We aimed to explore the biological stress signatures of early stress and MDD on hippocampal sub regional volumes using 7 Tesla MRI imaging. A cohort of 71 MDD patients was compared against 46 age and sex-matched healthy volunteers. MDD subjects had higher averages of IL-6 and CRP levels. These differences were significant for IL-6 levels and trended for CRP. There were no significant group differences in any of the hippocampal subfields or global hippocampal volumes; further, there were no hippocampal subfield differences between MDD subjects with high levels of our biological stress measures and MDDs with normal levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number78
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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