Dissociation of tic generation from tic expression during the sleep-wake cycle

Esther Vinner Harduf, Ayala Matzner, Katya Belelovsky, Izhar Bar-Gad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motor tics, the hallmark of Tourette syndrome (TS), are modulated by different behavioral and environmental factors. A major modulating factor is the sleep-wake cycle in which tics are attenuated to a large extent during sleep. This study demonstrates a similar reduction in tic expression during sleep in an animal model of chronic tic disorders and investigates the underlying neural mechanism. We recorded the neuronal activity during spontaneous sleep-wake cycles throughout continuous GABAA antagonist infusion into the striatum. Analysis of video streams and concurrent kinematic assessments indicated tic reduction during sleep in both frequency and intensity. Extracellular recordings in the striatum revealed a state-dependent dissociation between motor tic expression and their macro-level neural correlates (“LFP spikes”) during the sleep-wake cycle. Local field potential (LFP) spikes, which are highly correlated with tic expression during wakefulness, persisted during tic-free sleep and did not change their properties despite the reduced behavioral expression. Local, micro-level, activity near the infusion site was time-locked to the LFP spikes during wakefulness, but this locking decreased significantly during sleep. These results suggest that whereas LFP spikes encode motor tic generation and feasibility, the behavioral expression of tics requires local striatal neural activity entrained to the LFP spikes, leading to the propagation of the activity to downstream targets and consequently their motor expression. These findings point to a possible mechanism for the modulation of tic expression in patients with TS during sleep and potentially during other behavioral states.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102380
Issue number4
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2021


  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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