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Anti-basal ganglia antibodies and Tourette’s syndrome: a voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging study in an adult population
  1. D Martino1,2,
  2. B Draganski3,
  3. A Cavanna4,5,
  4. A Church2,
  5. G Defazio1,
  6. M M Robertson6,
  7. R S J Frackowiak3,
  8. G Giovannoni2,7,
  9. H D Critchley8
  1. 1
    Department of Neurological and Psychiatric Sciences, University of Bari, Italy
  2. 2
    Department of Neuroimmunology, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK
  3. 3
    Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK
  4. 4
    Department of Neurology, Amedeo Avogadro University, Novara, Italy
  5. 5
    Sobell Department of Movement Disorders and Motor Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK
  6. 6
    St Georges Hospital Medical School, London, UK
  7. 7
    Department of Neurology, Barts and The London NHS Trust, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  8. 8
    Department of Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  1. Dr D Martino, Department of Neurological and Psychiatric Sciences, University of Bari, Piazza Giulio Cesare 11, I-70124 Bari, Italy; davidemartino{at}


Anti-basal ganglia antibodies (ABGAs) have been suggested to be a hallmark of autoimmunity in Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome (GTS), possibly related to prior exposure to streptococcal infection. In order to detect whether the presence of ABGAs was associated with subtle structural changes in GTS, whole-brain analysis using independent sets of T1 and diffusion tensor imaging MRI-based methods were performed on 22 adults with GTS with (n = 9) and without (n = 13) detectable ABGAs in the serum. Voxel-based morphometry analysis failed to detect any significant difference in grey matter density between ABGA-positive and ABGA-negative groups in caudate nuclei, putamina, thalami and frontal lobes. These results suggest that ABGA synthesis is not related to structural changes in grey and white matter (detectable with these methods) within frontostriatal circuits.

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  • Additional experimental details are published online only at

  • Funding: BD, RSJF and HDC are supported by the Wellcome Trust. MMR was supported by the Tourette Syndrome Associations of the USA and UK.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained.