Serotonin transporter binding is increased in Tourette syndrome with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Müller-Vahl, Kirsten ORCID; Szejk, N.; Wilke, F.; Jakobovski, E.; Geworksi, L.; Bengel, Frank ORCID; Berding, G.

While the importance of the serotonergic system in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is well established, its role in Tourette syndrome (TS) is uncertain. Particularly in TS patients with comorbid OCD (TS + OCD), decreased serotonin transporter (SERT) binding has been suggested. Here, we investigated for the first time SERT binding in TS patients with and without OCD (TS - OCD) compared to both healthy controls (HC) and OCD patients as well as the influence of escitalopram using the potent SERT imaging ligand [(123)I]2-((2-((dimethylamino)methyl)phenyl)thio)-5-iodophenylamine ([(123)I]ADAM) and single-photon emission tomography (SPECT). We included 33 adult subjects (10 HC, 10 TS - OCD, 8 TS + OCD and 5 OCD). In patients with OCD and TS + OCD [(123)I]ADAM SPECT was repeated after 12-16 weeks treatment with escitalopram. SERT binding was normal in patients with OCD and TS - OCD, but significantly increased (p < 0.05) in those with TS + OCD, particularly in caudate and midbrain compared to both HC and TS - OCD. Treatment with escitalopram resulted in a significant overall reduction in SERT binding (range, 19 to 79%, p values between 0.0409 and <0.0001) without any correlation with clinical improvement. Our results provide further evidence that alterations in the serotonergic system in TS are related to comorbid OCD and do not represent the primary cause of the disease

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Müller-Vahl, K. / Szejk, N. / Wilke, F. / et al: Serotonin transporter binding is increased in Tourette syndrome with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 2019.

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