Subfields of the hippocampal formation at 7T MRI: In vivo volumetric assessment

Wisse, L. E.M., Gerritsen, L., Zwanenburg, J. J.M., Kuijf, H. J., Luijten, P. R., Biessels, G. J., Geerlings, M. I.


NeuroImage 61 (4), p. 1043-1049


Animal and human autopsy studies suggest that subfields of the hippocampal formation are differentially affected by neuropsychiatric diseases. Therefore, subfield volumes may be more sensitive to effects of disease processes. The few human studies that segmented subfields of the hippocampal formation in vivo either assessed the subfields only in the body of the hippocampus, assessed only three subfields, or did not take the differential angulation of the head of the hippocampus into account. We developed a protocol using 7. Tesla MRI with isotropic voxels to reliably delineate the entorhinal cortex (ERC), subiculum (SUB), CA1, CA2, CA3, dentate gyrus (DG)&CA4 along the full-length of the hippocampus.Fourteen subjects (aged 54-74years, 2 men and 12 women) were scanned with a 3D turbo spin echo (TSE) sequence with isotropic voxels of 0.7×0.7×0.7mm 3 on a 7T MRI whole body scanner. Based on previous protocols and extensive anatomic atlases, a new protocol for segmentation of subfields of the hippocampal formation was formulated. ERC, SUB, CA1, CA2, CA3 and DG&CA4 were manually segmented twice by one rater from coronal MR images. Good-to-excellent consistency was found for all subfields (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient's (ICC) varying from 0.74 to 0.98). Accuracy as measured with the Dice Similarity Index (DSI) was above 0.82 for all subfields, with the exception of the smaller subfield CA3 (0.68-0.70).In conclusion, this study shows that it is possible to delineate the main subfields of the hippocampal formation along its full-length in vivo at 7. T MRI. Our data give evidence that this can be done in a reliable manner. Segmentation of subfields in the full-length of the hippocampus may bolster the study of the etiology neuropsychiatric diseases.