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Mov Disord. 2017 Dec;32(12):1687-1693. doi: 10.1002/mds.27133. Epub 2017 Aug 26.

Motor hyperactivity of the iron-deficient rat - an animal model of restless legs syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
2
Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles HealthCare System, Sepulveda, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Abnormal striatal dopamine transmission has been hypothesized to cause restless legs syndrome. Dopaminergic drugs are commonly used to treat restless legs syndrome. However, they cause adverse effects with long-term use. An animal model would allow the systematic testing of potential therapeutic drugs. A high prevalence of restless legs syndrome has been reported in iron-deficient anemic patients. We hypothesized that the iron-deficient animal would exhibit signs similar to those in restless legs syndrome patients.

METHODS:

After baseline polysomnographic recordings, iron-deficient rats received pramipexole injection. Then, iron-deficient rats were fed a standard rodent diet, and polysomnographic recording were performed for 2 days each week for 4 weeks.

RESULTS:

Iron-deficient rats have low hematocrit levels and show signs of restless legs syndrome: sleep fragmentation and periodic leg movements in wake and in slow-wave sleep. Iron-deficient rats had a positive response to pramipexole treatment. After the iron-deficient rats were fed the standard rodent diet, hematocrit returned to normal levels, and sleep quality improved, with increased average duration of wake and slow-wave sleep episodes. Periodic leg movements decreased during both waking and sleep. Hematocrit levels positively correlated with the average duration of episodes in wake and in slow-wave sleep and negatively correlated with periodic leg movements in wake and in sleep. Western blot analysis showed that striatal dopamine transporter levels were higher in iron-deficient rats.

CONCLUSIONS:

The iron-deficient rat is a useful animal model of iron-deficient anemic restless legs syndrome. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

KEYWORDS:

hematocrit; periodic leg movement; sleep

PMID:
28843017
PMCID:
PMC5759344
DOI:
10.1002/mds.27133
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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