An Etiologically Informative, Population-based Study of Tourette Syndrome and Chronic Tics Across the Lifespan

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
King’s College London UK
Investigators Name
Mataix-Cols, David, PhD

Family and twin studies of Tourette’s syndrome (TS) and chronic tic disorders (CTD) suggest that these conditions are familial and influenced by genetic factors. However, the search for candidate genes remains elusive. Recent population-based twin studies suggest that non-shared environmental factors may be more important in conferring risk to these conditions than previously thought. We will conduct an etiologically informative population-based program of research to elucidate the degree to which TS/CTD cluster in families, are heritable and the environmental factors that are likely to play a causal role, with a particular emphasis on testing the autoimmune hypothesis. To achieve this we will utilize the unique Swedish Multi-Generational, Patient, Twin and Medication Prescription Registers, which contain rich data on TS/CTD. We will address 4 broadly inter-related questions in as many studies: Study 1. To what extent do TS/CTD cluster in families at the entire population level? This will allow us to estimate the familial structure of TS/CTD in the absence of selection biases. The Multigenerational Register, spanning 40 years, will allow us to examine the risk of TS/CTD in relatives of varying degrees of genetic and environmental relatedness to the proband. Study 2. Do TS/CTD cluster in families of individuals with autoimmune disorders at the population level? We will test the hypothesis that autoimmune disorders will be more frequent in the relatives of patients with TS/CTD than the relatives of matched controls, and that the degree of co-aggregation will increase with the degree of genetic relatedness. Study 3. What are the most robust environmental risk factors associated with TS/CTD? What is the causal role these environmental risk factors after controlling for familial factors? Study 4. Is there any evidence that children and adolescents with TS/CTD have a history of streptococcal infections and are more likely to be prescribed antibiotics, compared with matched controls? David Mataix-Cols, Ph.D., Paul Lichtenstein, Ph.D., Christian Rück, M.D., Ph.D. & Eva Serlachius, M.D., Ph.D, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom James Leckman, M.D., Yale University, New Haven, CT Award: $149,003 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2012-2013