Current understanding of the genetics of tourette syndrome

Biomed J. 2022 Apr;45(2):271-279. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2022 Jan 15.


Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS) is a common, childhood-onset psychiatric disorder characterized by persistent motor and vocal tics. It is a heterogeneous disorder in which the phenotypic expression may be affected by environmental factors, such as immune responses. Furthermore, several studies have shown that genetic factors play a vital role in the etiology of TS, as well as its comorbidity with other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. TS has a complex inheritance pattern and, according to various genetic studies, several genes and loci have been correlated with TS. Genome-wide linkage studies have identified Slit and Trk-like 1 (SLITRK1) and histidine decarboxylase (HDC) genes, and candidate gene association studies have extensively investigated the dopamine and serotonin system genes, but there have been no consistent results. Moreover, genome-wide association studies have implicated several genetic loci; however, larger study cohorts are needed to confirm this. Copy number variations, which are polymorphisms in the number of gene copies due to chromosomal deletions or duplications, are considered another significant source of mutations in TS. In the last decade, whole genome/exome sequencing has identified several novel genetic mutations in patients with TS. In conclusion, more studies are needed to reveal the exact mechanisms of underlying TS, which may help to provide more information on the prognosis and therapeutic plans for TS.

Keywords: Neurogenetics; Pediatric neurology; Tourette syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Child
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Tourette Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Tourette Syndrome* / genetics
  • Tourette Syndrome* / therapy