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Cerebral 5-HT2A receptor binding is increased in patients with Tourette's syndrome

Steven Haugbøl, Lars H. Pinborg, Lisbeth Regeur, Elsebet S. Hansen, Tom G. Bolwig, Finn Å. Nielsen, Claus Svarer, Lene T. Skovgaard, Gitte M. Knudsen
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1461145706006559 245-252 First published online: 1 April 2007

Abstract

Experimental and clinical data have suggested that abnormalities in the serotonergic neurotransmissions in frontal-subcortical circuits are involved in Tourette's syndrome. To test the hypothesis that the brain's 5-HT2A receptor binding is increased in patients with Tourette's syndrome, PET imaging was performed. Twenty adults with Tourette's syndrome and 20 healthy control subjects were investigated with PET-[18F]altanserin using a bolus-infusion protocol. Regions of interest were delineated automatically on co-registered MRI images, and partial volume-corrected binding parameters were extracted from the PET images. Comparison between control subjects and Tourette's syndrome patients showed increased specific [18F]altanserin binding, not only in the a-priori selected brain regions hypothesized to be involved in Tourette's syndrome, but also post-hoc analysis showed a global up-regulation when testing for a overall difference with a randomization test (p<0.03). Increased 5-HT2A receptor binding was found not only in regions closely related to subcortical regions in patients with Tourette's syndrome, but also in most other brain regions. Our data suggest that the serotonergic transmitter system is pathophysiologically involved in Tourette's syndrome and that a clinical trial with 5-HT2A receptor antagonists may be justified.

Key words
  • Altanserin
  • automatic region delineation
  • bolus infusion
  • partial volume correction
  • PET
  • serotonin receptor
  • tics
  • Tourette's syndrome