• amygdala;
  • sex chromosome aneuploidy;
  • hippocampus;
  • Klinefelter syndrome;
  • magnetic resonance imaging


The excess of 47,XXX and 47,XXY karyotypes found in cytogenetic screening studies of individuals with schizophrenia has given support for an increased risk of psychiatric illness among men and women with sex chromosomal aneuploidy (SCA). Mesial temporal lobe structures, including the amygdala and hippocampus, are thought to be associated with abnormalities of mood and behavior in humans and in the neurobiology of schizophrenia. This study focuses on variations in volumes of mesial temporal lobe structures in men and women with SCA. Utilizing an unselected birth cohort of subjects with SCA and high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we investigated the neuroanatomical consequences of a supernumerary X chromosome on the morphology of the amygdala and hippocampus. Regional and total brain volumes were measured in 10 subjects with 47,XXY, 10 subjects with 47,XXX, and 20 euploid controls. Amygdala volumes were significantly reduced in men with 47,XXY, compared to control men, while the decrease in women with 47,XXX was not as pronounced. Hippocampus volumes were preserved in both groups, compared to same-gender controls. Longitudinal studies of SCA individuals have shown an increased incidence of mild psychopathology and behavioral dysfunction in men with 47,XXY and more overt psychiatric illness in women with 47,XXX, compared to control populations. The alteration in amygdala volumes in individuals with a supernumerary X chromosome may provide a neuroanatomic basis for these findings. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.