Use of Enkephalin Modifying Agents to Control Involuntary Movements

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Illinois State Psychiatric Institute
Investigators Name
Comaty, Joseph, Research Fellow

The purpose of my project is to investigate two drugs that may be of benefit in TS. One drug is an amino acid, a natural substance of the body. This amino acid was chosen for study because: 1) It seems to affect a different chemical system, the enkephalin system, than the system affected by current medications used for TS. The enkephalin system has been shown to be involved with our ability to perceive and respond to pain and may also be involved with the control of movement. 2) It seemed to effectively reduce abnormal movements In an animal model of movement disorder. This amino acid has been taken by volunteers in other studies and has not produced any major side effects. It is hoped that this drug will reduce the symptoms of TS without producing any side effects. As a control a second drug called naloxone will be used because: 1) It also affects the enkephalin system but in the opposite direction to the amino acid; and, 2) It should therefore produce the opposite effects to those produced by the amino acid. This means that naloxone may worsen Tourette symptoms but only for a brief period of time. If it is true that the amino acid does Improve Tourette symptoms and naloxone causes a temporary worsening of symptoms, then It may mean that the amino acid could be helpful as an additional treatment for Tourette sufferers either alone or In combination with other effective treatments. This would reduce the risk associated with current medications used to treat TS. In addition, during this study, blood and urine samples will be collected before, during, and after the drug administrations to measure any changes in the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that are thought to play a role in producing the abnormal movements of TS. By doing this It is hoped that we may gain a better understanding of the chemical Imbalance thought to be associated with TS as well as perhaps expanding our knowledge about movement disorders in general. Joseph E. Comaty, Research Fellow Illinois State Psychiatric Institute Chicago, IL Award: $5,380 Tourette Association of America, Inc. – Research Grant Award 1984