Sydenham’s chorea is a type of rheumatic fever that may result from infections like strep throat, and which shares symptoms with OCD and Tourette syndrome. Previous research showed that an antibody (a protein formed by the immune system to fight infection) called D8/17 was present at a higher rate in all patients with rheumatic fevers, including Sydenham’s chorea.
This study by Dr. Murphy and her team compared the frequency of D8/17 in patients with pediatric OCD and/or Tourette syndrome to two other groups of subjects. Their goal was to discover a potential biomarker to identify individuals with a specific subtype of OCD or Tourette syndrome. Blood samples from 52 participants (31 with pediatric OCD and/or Tourette syndrome/tic disorder, and 21 healthy controls) were analyzed using immunoflourescence techniques to find D8/17. Patients with pediatric OCD and/or Tourette syndrome/tic disorder had significantly higher levels of D8/17 than the control group, indicating the potential for this antibody’s use as a marker for these conditions following Sydenham’s chorea and rheumatic fever. The study is related to later research into the neuroinflammation associated with PANDAS/PANS.
Murphy, T.K., Goodman, W.K., Fudge, M.W., Williams, Jr., R.C., Ayoub, E.M., Dalal, M., Lewis, M.H., & Zabriskie, J.B. (1997). B lymphocyte antigen D8/17: A peripheral marker for childhood-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome? American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 402-407. doi:10.1176/ajp.154.3.402