Histaminergic modulation in Tourette syndrome

Joanna H. Cox, Stefano Seri, Andrea E. Cavanna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by multiple motor tics and at least one vocal/phonic tic. Clinical phenotypes show a wide variability, often incorporating behavioral symptoms. The exact pathophysiology of Tourette syndrome is unknown, however genetic vulnerability and alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission have consistently been reported. Other biochemical pathways, including histaminergic neurotransmission, are likely to be involved but have received relatively little attention until recently. Areas covered: We conducted a systematic literature review focusing on the role of histaminergic neurotransmission and its pharmacological modulation in Tourette syndrome. We identified a number of relevant original studies published over the last five years, mainly focusing on genetic aspects. Expert opinion: There is converging evidence from recent studies supporting the hypothesis that histaminergic neurotransmission may play a role in the pathophysiology of Tourette syndrome. Most studies focused on the role of the histidine decarboxylase gene and the potential usefulness of histidine decarboxylase knockout mice as an experimental model for studying neurochemical function in Tourette syndrome. There have been no large scale studies assessing the use of histaminergic medications in the management of Tourette syndrome. This would be an important area for future research, with direct implications for the clinical management of selected phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Orphan Drugs
Issue number2
Early online date5 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Expert Opinion on Orphan Drugs, on 5/1/16, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1517/21678707.2016.1128819


  • animal models
  • histamine
  • tics
  • Tourette syndrome
  • treatment


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