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Because infection and immune responses have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Tourette syndrome (TS), we hypothesized that children with TS would have altered gene expression in blood compared to controls. In addition, because TS symptoms in childhood vary with age, we tested whether gene expression changes that occur with age in TS differ from normal control children. Whole blood was obtained from 30 children and adolescents with TS and 28 healthy children and adolescents matched for age, race, and gender. Gene expression (RNA) was assessed using whole genome Affymetrix microarrays. Age was analyzed as a continuous covariate and also stratified into three groups: 5-9 (common age for tic onset), 10-12 (when tics often peak), and 13-16 (tics may begin to wane). No global differences were found between TS and controls. However, expression of many genes and multiple pathways differed between TS and controls within each age group (5-9, 10-12, and 13-16), including genes involved in the immune-synapse, and proteasome- and ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis pathways. Notably, across age strata, expression of interferon response, viral processing, natural killer and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte cell genes differed. Our findings suggest age-related interferon, immune and protein degradation gene expression differences between TS and controls.

Citation

Lisa Lit, Amanda Enstrom, Frank R Sharp, Donald L Gilbert. Age-related gene expression in Tourette syndrome. Journal of psychiatric research. 2009 Jan;43(3):319-30

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PMID: 18485367

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