Background Calcifications within the hippocampus were recently described for the first time on computed tomography (CT). These calcifications appeared in patients older than 50 years, the prevalence increases with age and they may be associated with cognitive decline. The aim of this study was to determine the histological basis (the presence, severity and location) of these CT-detected hippocampal calcifications of post-mortem brains. Methods CT scans of seven post-mortem brains were scored for the presence and severity (mild, moderate, severe) of hippocampal calcification. After this, samples from nine hippocampi (bilateral in two brains, unilateral in five brains) were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE) to indicate the cytoarchitecture, with Elastica van Gieson to analyse the elastic connective tissue of the vessel walls and with von Kossa for detection of calcium. Results In four brains (six hippocampi), calcifications were both found on CT and in corresponding histology. In three brains (three hippocampi), calcifications were absent on CT and corresponding histology. In histology, mild calcifications were located in the tail and severe calcifications involved the tail, body and sometimes the head of the hippocampus. The calcifications co-localised with precapillaries, capillaries and arteries of the molecular and granular layers of the dentate gyrus and the Cornu Ammonis 1.
Conclusions In this study, calcifications of the hippocampus as seen on CT scans were histologically located in vascular structures of the tail, body and head of the hippocampus.