Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders: Relationship to Antineuronal Antibodies

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Brown University
Investigators Name
Kiessling, Louise, MD

Recent research has established that Tourette Syndrome (TS), chronic single and multiple tics (CSTD, CMTD), as well as associated obsessive compulsive symptoms (OCS) have an organic basis, and often have an associated familial history. Several theorists have suggested that while heredity is an important etiological consideration, other factors may contribute to development of these tic disorders. We have recently documented the presence of antibodies to the central nervous system in some children with tic disorders including TS. These antineuronal antibodies have previously been described in children with post group A Beta hemolytic streptococcal {GABHS) Sydenham’s chorea, a variant of acute rheumatic fever (ARF). We have documented, in blind studies, two groups of children referred for attentional/behavior disorders where those with recent onset movement disorders were over five times more likely than those without movement disorders to show serological evidence of antineuronal antibodies. The presence of antineuronal antibodies in these individuals was confirmed by immunofluorescent staining of frozen sections of human caudate nucleus. The specific aims of this research project are to build on our initial pilot study, using two age and sex matched normal controls for each child with definite tics, repeat the anti-neuronal antibody studies using a neuroblastoma cell line technique we have recently developed, titer the observed antibody responses, and absorb with specific streptococcal antigens to see if the antineuronal antibody reaction can be eliminated. The latter test would document prior GABHS infection as the source of the exposure. The results of these studies may provide a better understanding of the potential triggers for tics and TS, help delineate prevention of exacerbations of these symptoms in some children, and potentially add to knowledge about the immunological role played in the formation of tic and related disorders. Louise S. Kiessling, M.D. Brown Univ. Program in Medicine Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI Award $31,200 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1991