Background: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by the continual presence of primary motor and vocal tics. Grey matter abnormalities have been identified in numerous studies of TS, but conflicting results have been reported. This study was an unbiased statistical meta-analysis of published neuroimaging studies of TS structures.
Methods: A voxel quantitative meta-analysis technique called activation likelihood estimation (ALE) was used.The meta-analysis included six neuroimaging studies involving 247 TS patients and 236 healthy controls. A statistical threshold of p < 0.05 was established based on the false discovery rate and a cluster extent threshold of 50 voxels.
Results: We found that grey matter volumes were significantly increased in the bilateral thalamus, right hypothalamus, right precentral gyrus, left postcentral gyrus, left inferior parietal lobule, right lentiform nucleus, and left insula of TS patients compared to those of healthy controls. In contrast, grey matter volumes were significantly decreased in the bilateral postcentral gyrus, bilateral anterior cingulate, bilateral insula, left posterior cingulate, and left postcentral gyrus of TS patients compared to those of healthy controls.
Conclusions: Our present meta-analysis primarily revealed significant increases in grey matter volumes in the thalamus and lentiform nucleus, and decreased grey matter volumes in the anterior cingulate gyrus, of TS patients compared to those in healthy controls. Most of these identified regions are associated with cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these changes in grey matter volumes in TS patients.