Motor Tics in Rodents as a Model of the Tics of Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Aston University UK
Investigators Name
Handley, Sheila, PhD

Rats and mice show twitches of the head and shoulders when they are given an agent which stimulates brain serotonin receptors. We have been using these behaviors as a means of studying the function of serotonin in the brain. Recently, we came to realize that they are remarkably similar to some of the simple tics of Tourette Syndrome. This is more than a similarity of appearance, because these tics are also suppressed by haloperidol and by elonidine. Could they provide the elusive model for Tourette Syndrome? The project we are to undertake will try to find out if this is the case, and to begin to study where in the brain these tic behaviors originate. Available seroton in antagonists appear to be of little use in Tourette Syndrome. However they have low potency and bind to all eight or more types of serotonin receptor. Pharmaceutical companies are now synthesizing some very potent compounds which bind to only one receptor subtype. Some of these are very effective in abolishing rodent tics, and we therefore plan to use our model to determine whether they are worthy of clinical trial in Tourette Syndrome. Sheila L. Handley, Ph.D., Drug Mechanisms Research Aston University, Pharmaceutical Sciences Inst., Birmingham, UK Award: $22,425 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1989