JOURNAL ARTICLE

Altered structural connectivity of cortico-striato-pallido-thalamic networks in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome

Yulia Worbe, Linda Marrakchi-Kacem, Sophie Lecomte, Romain Valabregue, Fabrice Poupon, Pamela Guevara, Alan Tucholka, Jean-François Mangin, Marie Vidailhet, Stephane Lehericy, Andreas Hartmann, Cyril Poupon
Brain 2015, 138 (Pt 2): 472-82
25392196
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a childhood-onset syndrome characterized by the presence and persistence of motor and vocal tics. A dysfunction of cortico-striato-pallido-thalamo-cortical networks in this syndrome has been supported by convergent data from neuro-pathological, electrophysiological as well as structural and functional neuroimaging studies. Here, we addressed the question of structural integration of cortico-striato-pallido-thalamo-cortical networks in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. We specifically tested the hypothesis that deviant brain development in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome could affect structural connectivity within the input and output basal ganglia structures and thalamus. To this aim, we acquired data on 49 adult patients and 28 gender and age-matched control subjects on a 3 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner. We used and further implemented streamline probabilistic tractography algorithms that allowed us to quantify the structural integration of cortico-striato-pallido-thalamo-cortical networks. To further investigate the microstructure of white matter in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, we also evaluated fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity in these pathways, which are both sensitive to axonal package and to myelin ensheathment. In patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome compared to control subjects, we found white matter abnormalities in neuronal pathways connecting the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia and the thalamus. Specifically, striatum and thalamus had abnormally enhanced structural connectivity with primary motor and sensory cortices, as well as paracentral lobule, supplementary motor area and parietal cortices. This enhanced connectivity of motor cortex positively correlated with severity of tics measured by the Yale Global Tics Severity Scale and was not influenced by current medication status, age or gender of patients. Independently of the severity of tics, lateral and medial orbito-frontal cortex, inferior frontal, temporo-parietal junction, medial temporal and frontal pole also had enhanced structural connectivity with the striatum and thalamus in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. In addition, the cortico-striatal pathways were characterized by elevated fractional anisotropy and diminished radial diffusivity, suggesting microstructural axonal abnormalities of white matter in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. These changes were more prominent in females with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome compared to males and were not related to the current medication status. Taken together, our data showed widespread structural abnormalities in cortico-striato-pallido-thalamic white matter pathways in patients with Gilles de la Tourette, which likely result from abnormal brain development in this syndrome.

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