What Can We Tell About the Effect of Electroconvulsive Therapy on the Human Hippocampus?

Akihiro Takamiya, Taishiro Kishimoto, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective antidepressant treatment, although its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Since 2010, several structural magnetic resonance imaging studies based on a neuroplastic hypothesis have consistently reported increases in the hippocampal volume following ECT. Moreover, volume increases in the human dentate gyrus, where neurogenesis occurs, have also been reported. These results are in line with the preclinical findings of ECT-induced neuroplastic changes, including neurogenesis, gliogenesis, synaptogenesis, and angiogenesis, in rodents and nonhuman primates. Despite this robust evidence of an effect of ECT on hippocampal plasticity, the clinical relevance of these human hippocampal changes continues to be questioned. This narrative review summarizes recent findings regarding ECT-induced hippocampal volume changes. Furthermore, this review also discusses methodological considerations and future directions in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-593
Number of pages10
JournalClinical EEG and Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • dentate gyrus
  • depression
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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