Lamanna, J., Ferro, M., Spadini, S., Racchetti, G., Malgaroli, A. (2023) The Dysfunctional Mechanisms Throwing Tics: Structural and Functional Changes in Tourette Syndrome 2023 – Behavioral Sciences 2023, 13, 668 – agosto 2023


Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a high-incidence multifactorial neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics co-occurring with several diverse comorbidities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The origin of TS is multifactorial, with strong genetic, perinatal, and immunological influences. Although almost all neurotransmettitorial systems have been implicated in TS pathophysiology, a comprehensive neurophysiological model explaining the dynamics of expression and inhibition of tics is still lacking. The genesis and maintenance of motor and non-motor aspects of TS are thought to arise from functional and/or structural modifications of the basal ganglia and related circuitry. This complex wiring involves several cortical and subcortical structures whose concerted activity controls the selection of the most appropriate reflexive and habitual motor, cognitive and emotional actions. Importantly, striatal circuits exhibit bidirectional forms of synaptic plasticity that differ in many respects from hippocampal and neocortical plasticity, including sensitivity to metaplastic molecules such as dopamine. Here, we review the available evidence about structural and functional anomalies in neural circuits which have been found in TS patients. Finally, considering what is known in the field of striatal plasticity, we discuss the role of exuberant plasticity in TS, including the prospect of future pharmacological and neuromodulation avenues.