Interneuron deficit and Functional Compartments of the Striatum in Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Yale University
Investigators Name
Vaccarino, Flora, MD

Current studies by our group have suggested that parvalbumin and cholinergic neurons that populate the basal ganglia may be decreased in Tourette Syndrome (TS) (Kalanithi et al., 2005; Journal of Comparative Neurology, in press). These specific losses might underlie abnormal inhibitory modulation within the striatum. In this TSA funded project we will map the distribution of parvalbumin and cholinergic neurons in the three main functional subdivisions of the striatum in both normal (control) and TS brain samples. We will also assess the distribution of parvalbumin and cholinergic neurons in the striosomes and matrix compartments of the striatum. These studies will be carried out on the collection of five TS and seven normal (control) brains that we are using in current studies. This project will allow us to better understand the brain systems and the circuitry that may be affected in TS. New information in this field could impact on genetic and epidemiological studies of TS and suggest new avenues for treatment. Flora M. Vaccarino, M.D., Yuko Kataoka, M.D., Ph.D. Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT Award: $71,892 Commentary: It remains unclear as to which changes in the brain are associated with causing TS. In previous TSA and NIH sponsored studies, Dr. Vaccarino has shown that fewer nerve cells are present in the basal ganglia region of the brain of people with TS when compared to people without TS and that these changes are localized in the striatum. In this study, Drs. Vaccarino and Kataoka will perform a more detailed analysis to get a precise estimate of the distribution of these cells in sub-compartments of the striatum in people with and without TS. These studies may enable scientists to identify which changes in the brain underlie the development of tics in people with TS. This award is partially funded by Randi Zemsky and Shirley and Sam Zemsky Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2009-2010