Normative Volumetric Data of the Developing Hippocampus in Children Based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. T. Pfluger at Department of Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Klinikum Innenstadt, Ziemssenstr. 1, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


Summary: Purpose: To acquire normative data of the hippocampus and its postnatal growth in 50 children (age, 1 month to 15 years) without epilepsy.

Methods: Morphometry of the hippocampus was carried out by using a spoiled FLASH 3D sequence (sagittal orientation), whereas the volume of the brain was assessed with a T2-weighted spin-echo sequence (transverse orientation). The volume of the hippocampus and the brain was determined by following Cavalieri's principle. Growth curves of the brain and hippocampus were fitted to a nonlinear Boltzmann sigmoidal equation.

Results: Intra-/interobserver coefficient of variation was 2.0/4.9% for hippocampal volume measurements and 2.0/2.1% for brain volumetry. A significant difference in volume was noted between the right and left hippocampus (p < 0.001), with the right side being larger on average by 0.10 cc. Correlation coefficients of growth curves ranged between 0.71 and 0.94. Growth curves demonstrated a faster development of the hippocampus in girls. A steeper slope of hippocampal growth as compared with brain growth was found in girls, whereas in boys, the slope of brain growth was steeper.

Conclusions: Our findings will be of help in evaluating vulnerable phases of the hippocampal formation with accelerated growth, thereby leading to a better understanding of the development of hippocampal sclerosis in early childhood.