Cryoglobulinaemic neuropathy manifesting with restless legs syndrome

J Neurol Sci. 1997 Nov 25;152(2):218-23. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(97)00187-1.


In a series of 12 patients with essential mixed cryoglobulinaemia (EMC) and peripheral neuropathy as main feature of the disease, restless legs syndrome (RLS) was a major manifestation in four women, aged 55-65 years. In one patient RLS was a presenting manifestation of the disease, and in another patient the diagnosis of EMC was made investigating RLS and polyneuropathy, although prior rheumatological symptoms were retrospectively recognized. All patients with RLS had symmetrical sensory polyneuropathy, but non-RLS patients had also other forms of peripheral neuropathy, and symmetrical sensory polyneuropathy only in two of eight cases (P=0.03). Neurophysiological study showed that sensory action potentials of the sural nerve were more often inelicitable in non-RLS patients (six of eight) than in RLS patients (none of three). Sural nerve biopsy had no distinctive features in three RLS patients, with regard to other patients with cryoglobulinaemic neuropathy. RLS seems not uncommon in cryoglobulinaemic neuropathy, and significantly associated with symmetrical sensory polyneuropathy, whereas patients with other subtypes of cryoglobulinaemic neuropathy do not develop RLS; thus, a disorder of the sensory inputs may be important in the pathogenesis of RLS. The occurrence of RLS, especially in middle-aged women, should prompt investigations for peripheral neuropathy focusing on cryoglobulinaemic neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Aged
  • Cryoglobulinemia / diagnosis*
  • Cryoglobulinemia / pathology
  • Cryoglobulinemia / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / etiology*
  • Sural Nerve / physiopathology