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Singapore Med J. 2016 Sep;57(9):514-6. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2016154.

Association between the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, a new marker of systemic inflammation, and restless legs syndrome.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine, Sakarya University Medicine Faculty, Sakarya, Turkey.
Department of Neurology, Sakarya University Medicine Faculty, Sakarya, Turkey.
Department of Hematology, Sakarya University Medicine Faculty, Sakarya, Turkey.



Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is characterised by abnormal sensations in the legs as well as dysaesthesia. Although the aetiology of RLS has not yet been determined, it may be associated with systemic inflammation. The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a new and simple marker indicating systemic inflammation. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between systemic inflammation and RLS through the use of the NLR.


A total of 75 newly diagnosed patients with RLS and 56 healthy control subjects were included in the study. Baseline NLR was calculated by dividing the absolute neutrophil count by the absolute lymphocyte count. The NLRs of the two groups were compared.


There were no significant differences in gender and age between the two groups. The NLR was 1.96 ± 0.66 in the patient group and 1.67 ± 0.68 in the control group (p = 0.005). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to determine the cut-off value of NLR to predict RLS. The NLR was predictive at 1.58 with a 64% sensitivity and 50% specificity (95% confidence interval 0.55-0.74, area under curve 0.648 ± 0.05). The NLR was found to be statistically higher in patients with RLS and may be used to predict RLS.


The aetiology of RLS remains undetermined. The present study showed that systemic inflammation may play a role in RLS. However, RLS could also be associated with systemic inflammatory diseases. This relationship is supported by high NLR values, which are related to chronic systemic inflammation.


neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio; restless legs syndrome; systemic inflammation

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