Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of sensation with a prevalence of around 2-5% of the population. Relevant to understanding the possible pathophysiological mechanism is the fact that RLS is extremely responsive to dopaminergic agents. A second issue is that iron deficiency states may precipitate RLS in as much as 25-30% of people with iron deficiency. Studies looking at basal ganglia dopaminergic function using PET and SPECT techniques have shown a decrease in binding potential for the dopamine receptor and transporter. Similar phenomena occurs in iron-deficient animals. Using MRI techniques and CSF analysis of iron-related protein, studies have suggested a reduction in brain iron concentration occurs in RLS patients. The relevance of CNS iron metabolism to the pathophysiology of RLS is discussed.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.