Genetic and epidemiological characterization of restless legs syndrome in Québec

Sleep. 2020 Apr 15;43(4):zsz265. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz265.


Currently, a total of 19 genetic loci are associated with the risk for developing RLS. This study aimed to assess these RLS predisposing genetic variants, as well as investigate the epidemiological profile and diagnostic features of individuals with RLS in the Québec population, using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. A total of 18 RLS-associated variants were genotyped in the Québec population-based CARTaGENE cohort. A case-control series consisting of 1,362 RLS cases and 1,379 age-matched unaffected controls was used to conduct a genetic and epidemiological association study that integrated the first four RLS diagnostic features of affected individuals, as well as additional RLS-related questions (e.g. frequency of the symptoms and number of total pregnancies in female). Five RLS-predisposing variants were significantly associated after Bonferroni correction and an additional five variants were nominally associated with RLS (p < 0.05). BTBD9 was the strongest genetic risk factor in our cohort (rs9296249, OR = 1.71, p = 9.57 × 10-10). The patient group that met all four essential diagnostic criteria of RLS provided the most significant genetic findings. These results suggest that employing the questionnaire which included standard diagnostic criteria of RLS could improve the accuracy of the survey-based studies.

Keywords: BTBD9; MEIS1; CARTaGENE; IRRLSSG; Québec; genetic risk factor; restless legs syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't