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Mov Disord. 2008 Jun 15;23(8):1184-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.22070.

Multiregional brain iron deficiency in restless legs syndrome.

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  • 1Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and Center of Neurology, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany.


Evidence for tissue iron deficiency in restless legs syndrome (RLS) is limited to the substantia nigra (SN). Using MRI, we assessed T2 values of various brain regions in 6 RLS patients and 19 controls and correlated them with sonographically assessed SN echogenicity. Both neuroimaging features are supposed to correlate with tissue iron content. Mean T2 values of all regions were higher in patients (2.9-7.8%), though significantly increased only in four regions; the mean T2 over all voxels was higher in patients (5.1%, P < 0.001) and correlated inversely with SN echogenicity (r = -0.61, P < 0.001). This indicates multiregional (global) brain iron deficiency in RLS and proposes SN echogenicity as a potential morphological marker for brain iron status. (c) 2008 Movement Disorder Society.

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