Search for Hereditary Factors in Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Erasmus University The Netherlands
Investigators Name
Oostra, Ben, PhD

Despite much research we still do not understand the basic defect causing Tourette Syndrome. There are two ways of trying to identify the cause of the condition. Firstly, this can be done by physical and/or biochemical studies of the brain. Secondly, this can be achieved by uncovering the genetic cause of the condition. As there is no biochemical marker for Tourette Syndrome, the search for the gene involved in Tourette Syndrome begins with finding the localization of the GTS gene. Genetic linkage studies are aimed at finding a linkage between Tourette Syndrome and a marker whose position on one of the human chromosomes is known. There is a set of markers available that cover the whole human genome. All these markers need to be tested until a linkage with one of the markers is found. In Rotterdam we are screening Dutch TS families with a set of markers. We have already tested a large number, but we have not found linkage so far. The data that we collect are being exchanged with other groups in the TSA Genetic Consortium. This effort by all the collaborating groups will finally lead to finding a chromosomal localization. Once linkage is found in one family we will test these markers in all the other available families. While this mapping project is ongoing we have started a different type of analysis in identifying differences in the DNA between TS patients and control individuals. This method is called RDA and it compares DNA in a direct way from TS patients and control individuals. As there will be many differences between individuals, other differences will be picked up as well. The method is set up in a way that many of the differences (that are not causing TS) are eliminated. We have to search whether we can find the difference that is causing Tourette Syndrome or a difference that is linked with the Syndrome. Our goal is to use these different independent methods to search for a chromosomal localization of the gene or genes. If a chromosomal localization is detected, this will be used as a starting point in the search for the specific genetic abnormality which causes this disorder. Ben Oostra, Ph.D. Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands Award $45,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1994