Steroid hormones and CNS sexual dimorphisms modulate symptom expression in Tourette's syndrome

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1992 Nov;17(6):553-63. doi: 10.1016/0306-4530(92)90015-y.


We present our hypothesis that various steroid hormones play an important role in the symptom expression of Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome (TS) and that androgenic hormones, in particular, are likely to exacerbate symptoms of the disorder. We review the clinical evidence supporting our hypothesis. Sex steroids establish brain sexual dimorphisms early in CNS development, and we suggest mechanisms whereby androgenic and other hormonal changes later in human development might act at dimorphic brain regions to influence the natural history of TS. Finally, we discuss the various ways in which neuroendocrine studies might assist in genetic and neurobiologic research programs in TS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androgens / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / genetics
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Sexual Maturation / genetics
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Tourette Syndrome / genetics
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Androgens
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones