Pathophysiology of tics and Tourette syndrome

Alfredo Berardelli, Antonio Currà, Giovanni Fabbrini, Francesca Gilio, Mario Manfredi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tics are involuntary movements that can affect one or more muscles producing simple or complex movements. Blink reflex and startle reflex studies disclose an increased excitability of brainstem interneurons. Analysis of voluntary movement shows that when advance visual information is reduced, patients with tics and Tourette syndrome become progressively slower in completing motor sequences. Sensorimotor integration is abnormally processed. Studies of the contingent negative variation demonstrate abnormalities of movement preparation and the investigation of premotor potentials shows that in some patients tics are not preceded by a normal premotor potential. Magnetic stimulation studies demonstrate an increased excitability of cortical motor cortex. Functional MRI, PET and SPECT studies show abnormal activation of cortical and subcortical areas. Dysfunction of basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical projections affects sensorimotor, language and limbic cortical circuits, and may explain why patients with Tourette syndrome have difficulty in inhibiting unwanted behaviors and impulses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-787
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Motor disturbances
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathophysiology of tics and Tourette syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this