Serotonergic system in dystonia

Based on previous research, psychological complaints seem to occur more frequently in people with different forms of dystonia compared to people without dystonia. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine how often these psychological complaints occur in patients with dystonia. Also sleep problems and fatigue are possibly more frequent. The ultimate goal is that psychological complaints will be better recognised and subsequently better treated.

In addition, with this research we also want to gain more insight into how these so-called non-motor symptoms arise. To this end, we are investigating the role of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in mood, but also in sleep and fatigue. 

This research focuses on the role of serotonin in different forms of dystonia (cervical dystonia, dopa-responsive dystonia and myoclonus dystonia). By means of questionnaires, neurological examination, laboratory research and PET scans, we investigate whether there is a relation between (abnormalities of) the serotonergic system and both motor and non-motor symptoms in dystonia. 

Furthermore we also investigate the composition of the microbiome in the gut of dystonia patients. 90-95% of the serotonin in the body is derived from the gut, and the gut microbiome has been implicated in other movement disorders like Parkinson's disease as well. 

Researchers involved in this project: 

Marenka Smit (cervical dystonia)

Elze Timmers (myoclonus dystonia and dopa-responsive dystonia)

Anouk Kuiper (dopa-responsive dystonia)