Neurobiology of Tourette's syndrome: Concepts of neuroanatomic localization and neurochemical abnormalities

Harvey S. Singer, Karen Minzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite a preponderance of evidence suggesting an organic rather than psychogenic origin for Tourette syndrome, the precise neurobiological abnormality remains speculative. Neuroanatomically, there is expanding confirmation that cortico-striato-thalamocortical pathways represent the site of origin for tics and accompanying neuropsychiatric problems. Pathophysiological hypothesis are generally defined based on involvement of (1) a specific anatomical site (striato-thalamic circuits, striatal compartments), (2) physiologic abnormality (excess thalamic excitation, impaired intracortical inhibition), or (3) involvement of a specific neurotransmitter or synaptic component. This review provides information essential for understanding current and future proposals pertaining to the neurobiology of this intriguing disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S70-S84
JournalBrain and Development
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Striatal abnormalities
  • Tourette's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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