Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Antibodies Provide New Clues To Origins Of Tourette's Syndrome

Date:
June 25, 1998
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence that Tourette's syndrome, which causes involuntary muscle contractions and bursts of words and noise, may be triggered in part by an infection.

Some Patients' Tics May Be Triggered By An Infection

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence that Tourette's syndrome, which causes involuntary muscle contractions and bursts of words and noise, may be triggered in part by an infection.

"We think antibodies made by the immune system in response to a bacterial infection may go on to attack brain nerve cells in a subset of the children who develop Tourette's," says Harvey Singer, M.D., professor of neurology and pediatrics, and lead author of a study in the June issue of Neurology. "The bacteria streptococcus is a leading suspect, but the search for a triggering factor should not be limited to it."

The antibodies Hopkins researchers identified could help scientists understand where the symptoms of Tourette's are created in the brain, find the infectious trigger, and develop new ways to treat or prevent Tourette's in a small number of affected children, according to Singer.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Tourette's Syndrome Association, Singer's group took blood samples from 41 Tourette's patients and a group of 39 control subjects, and tested them for antibodies to proteins in ground-up human brain tissue.

The patients had significantly higher levels of antibodies against proteins from the putamen, an area at the base of the brain involved in movement. For two other brain areas studied, the caudate and the globus pallidus, there were no significant differences between patients and controls.

"Brain imaging studies have shown changes in the shape and size of the putamen in Tourette's patients, reinforcing the idea that these antibodies may contribute to the disorder," says Singer.

Strep infection is a leading suspect for the trigger in a small number of patients because scientists have already linked it to another, similar disorder, Sydenham's chorea, and patients have reported cases in which Tourette's began or became worse after a streptococcal infection.

Tourette's syndrome affects approximately five in every 10,000 persons. Because it occurs with high frequency in some families and identical twins, a genetic error has long been suspected as a cause. "However, based on family studies, it appears that for some individuals, an additional factor is required to cause the disease," says Singer.

One hypothesis is that people who have two copies of the Tourette's gene always develop the syndrome, while those who receive one copy of the gene, estimated at about 2 percent of the general population, develop Tourette's only after being exposed to another factor in the environment, such as an infection.

The Tourette's gene has not yet been isolated.

Further research is needed to confirm or clarify potential associations between the antibody and clinical symptoms or a particular infection, Singer says. He hopes to study antibody levels over time to see if they rise as tics become more pronounced. He also hopes to identify the putamen proteins the antibodies attack.

Other authors on the paper were J.D. Giuliano; B.H. Hansen; J.J. Hallett, M.D.; J.P. Laurino, Ph.D.; M. Benson; and L.S. Kiessling, M.D.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' news releases are available on a PRE-EMBARGOED basis on EurekAlert at http://www.eurekalert.org, Newswise at http://www.newswise.com and from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs' direct e-mail news release service. To enroll, call 410-955-4288 or send e-mail to bsimpkin@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu or 76520.560@compuserve.com.

On a POST-EMBARGOED basis find them at http://hopkins.med.jhu.edu, Quadnet at http://www.quad-net.com, ScienceDaily at http://www.sciencedaily.com or on CompuServe in the SciNews-MedNews library of the Journalism Forum under file extension ".jhm".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Brain Antibodies Provide New Clues To Origins Of Tourette's Syndrome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980625083624.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1998, June 25). Brain Antibodies Provide New Clues To Origins Of Tourette's Syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980625083624.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Brain Antibodies Provide New Clues To Origins Of Tourette's Syndrome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980625083624.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins