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Functional neuroimaging in Tourette syndrome: recent perspectives

Authors Debes NM, Préel M, Skov L

Received 27 August 2016

Accepted for publication 13 February 2017

Published 26 April 2017 Volume 2017:6 Pages 1—13

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NAN.S88795

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Annabel Chen


Nanette Mol Debes, Marie Préel, Liselotte Skov

Pediatric Department, Tourette Clinic, Herlev University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark

Abstract: The most recent functional neuroimaging studies on Tourette syndrome (TS) are reviewed in this paper. Although it can be difficult to compare functional neuroimaging studies due to differences in methods, differences in age of the included subjects, and differences in the extent to which the presence of comorbidity, medical treatment, and severity of tics are considered in the various studies; most studies show that the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuit seems to be involved in the generation of tics. Changes in this circuit seem to be correlated with tic severity. Correlations have been found between the presence of tics and hypermetabolism in various brain regions. Abnormalities of GABAergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic neurotransmission in patients with TS have been suggested. During tic suppression, increased activity in the inferior frontal gyrus is seen. The premotor cortex might be involved in inhibition of motor control in subjects with TS. The right anterior insula is suggested to be a part of the urge–tic network. Several studies have shown altered motor network activations and sensorimotor gating deficits in subjects with TS. In future studies, inclusion of more well-defined subjects and further examination of premonitory urge and tic suppression is needed in order to increase the knowledge about the pathophysiology and treatment possibilities of TS.

Keywords: functional neuroimaging, Tourette syndrome

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