Antibodies against human putamen in children with Tourette syndrome

Harvey S. Singer, J. D. Giuliano, B. H. Hansen, J. J. Hallett, J. P. Laurino, M. Benson, L. S. Kiessling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Similar to the model for Sydenham's chorea, antineuronal antibodies, which develop in response to a preceding streptococcal infection, have been speculated to have a role in the development of Tourette syndrome (TS). Methods: Serum antibodies against human caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus (interna and externa) were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot techniques and results were correlated with clinical characteristics and markers of streptococcal infection. Subjects: A total of 41 children with TS (mean age, 11.3 years) and 39 controls (mean age, 12.1 years) were included. Results: Compared with controls, TS subjects had a significant increase in the mean (p = 0.006) and median (p = 0.002) ELISA optical density (OD) levels of serum antibodies against putamen, but not caudate or globus pallidus. Western blots on 20 control and 20 TS serum samples showed that specific antibodies to caudate/putamen occurred more frequently in TS subjects at 83, 67, and 60 kDa; antigens were present in a synaptosomal fraction. TS subjects with a positive family history of tics had higher OD values (p ≤ 0.04), but no association was shown with age of tic onset, tic severity, sudden onset of tics, or presence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Risk ratio calculations in TS and control groups and in study subjects dichotomized for high and low putamen OD values were similar for titers of antistreptolysin O ≤ 166 or antideoxyribonuclease B ≤ 170. A subgroup analysis limited to subjects with elevated streptococcal titers, however, showed a significantly (p ≤ 0.004) larger number of TS subjects with elevated OD levels. Conclusion: Children and adolescents with TS had significantly higher serum levels of antineuronal antibodies against putamen than did controls, but their relation to clinical characteristics and markers for streptococcal infection remains equivocal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1624
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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