Date Published:1999 Jul
OBJECTIVE: Gray matter volume and glucose utilization have been reported to be reduced in the left subgenual cingulate of subjects with familial bipolar or unipolar depression. It is unclear whether these findings are secondary to recurrent illness or are part of a familial/genetic syndrome. The authors' goal was to clarify these findings. METHOD: Volumetric analyses were performed by using magnetic resonance imaging in 41 patients experiencing their first episode of affective disorder or schizophrenia and in 20 normal comparison subjects. RESULTS: The left subgenual cingulate volume of the patients with affective disorder who had a family history of affective disorder was smaller than that of patients with affective disorder with no family history of the illness and the normal comparison subjects. Patients with schizophrenia did not differ from comparison subjects in left subgenual cingulate volume. CONCLUSIONS: Left subgenual cingulate abnormalities are present at first hospitalization for psychotic affective disorder in patients who have a family history of affective disorder.