Objective. To determine whether children with recent onset of movement disorders (Tourette syndrome, motor and/or vocal tics, chorea, choreiform movements) show evidence of serological antibodies directed against the human central nervous system as previously documented in research on Sydenham's chorea.
Methods. Serum antibodies against previously frozen human caudate nucleus sections were analyzed using a blinded design and immunofluorescent staining methods. The sera of one group of 50 children referred for evaluation of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavior disorders, and learning disabilities (24 with an associated movement disorder) seen between June 1989 and June 1990 were analyzed. The study was replicated in 33 children (21 with an associated movement disorder) seen between June 1990 and November 1990.
Results. In the original sample of 50 children, those with movement disorders were significantly more likely to have evidence of antineuronal antibodies than were those without movement disorders (odds ratio [OR] 4.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.58 to 8.93). Results of the replication were similar (OR 6.00, 95% CI 2.56 to 14.03). For the total group, the OR was 5.50, (95% CI 3.54 to 8.99), which is highly significant. The percentage of children with a movement disorder whose sera were strongly positive for antineuronal antibodies (44%) was very similar to that previously found in children with Sydenham's chorea (46%). Children with movement disorders were also more likely than children without movement disorders to have at least one antistreptococcal titer elevated.
Conclusions. The data strongly suggest an association between antecedent group A β-hemolytic streptococcal infection as inferred from elevated antistreptococcal titers and the presence of serum antineuronal antibodies, which may, in turn, be linked to childhood movement disorders.
- Received December 1, 1992.
- Accepted February 1, 1993.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics