CSF and serum were obtained from 16 patients with idiopathic restless legs syndrome (RLS) and 8 age-matched healthy control subjects. Patients with RLS had lower CSF ferritin levels (1. 11 +/- 0.25 ng/mL versus 3.50 +/- 0.55 ng/mL; p = 0.0002) and higher CSF transferrin levels (26.4 +/- 5.1 mg/L versus 6.71 +/- 1.6 mg/L; p = 0.018) compared with control subjects. There was no difference in serum ferritin and transferrin levels between groups. The presence of reduced ferritin and elevated transferrin levels in CSF is indicative of low brain iron in patients with idiopathic RLS.