Involvement of immunologic and biochemical mechanisms in the pathogenesis of Tourette's syndrome

Yuval Eliahu Landau, Tamar Steinberg, Brian Richmand, James Frederick Leckman, Alan Apter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tourette's syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder clinically characterized by multiple motor and phonic tics. It is likely that a neurobiological susceptibility to the disorder is established during development by the interaction of genetic, biochemical, immunological, and environmental factors. This study sought to investigate the possible correlation of several immunological and biochemical markers with Tourette's syndrome. Children with Tourette's syndrome attending a tertiary pediatric medical center from May 2008 to April 2010, and healthy agematched control subjects underwent a comprehensive biochemical and immunological work-up. Demographic data were abstracted from the medical records. Findings were compared between the groups and analyzed statistically. Sixty-eight children with Tourette's syndrome (58 males, 85.3%) and 36 healthy children (25 males, 69.4%) were recruited. Compared with the control group, the Tourette's syndrome group had significantly higher levels of ferritin (p = 0.01) and hemoglobin (p = 0.02), a lower level of zinc (p = 0.05), and a lower percentage of non-ceruloplasmin copper (p = 0.01). Analysis of the immunological markers revealed no significant between-group differences in IgA, IgM or IgG; however, IgE and IgG-4 levels were significantly higher in the Tourette's syndrome group (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02, respectively). Children with Tourette's syndrome have high levels of biochemical indices of oxidative stress and the quantitative immunoglobulins. These findings add to the still-limited knowledge on the pathogenesis of Tourette's syndrome and may have implications for the development of novel therapeutic modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Autoimmunity
  • Heavy metals metabolism
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Oxidative stress
  • Tourette syndrome


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