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Low brain iron content in idiopathic restless legs syndrome patients detected by phase imaging

Authors

  • Giovanni Rizzo MD,

    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Neurology Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    3. “IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna,”, Bologna, Italy
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  • David Manners DPhil,

    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Claudia Testa PhD,

    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Caterina Tonon MD,

    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Roberto Vetrugno MD,

    1. Professional Consultant in Neurology, Bologna, Italy
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  • Sara Marconi MD,

    1. Neurology Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. “IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna,”, Bologna, Italy
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  • Giuseppe Plazzi MD,

    1. Neurology Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. “IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna,”, Bologna, Italy
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  • Fabio Pizza MD,

    1. Neurology Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. “IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna,”, Bologna, Italy
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  • Federica Provini MD,

    1. Neurology Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. “IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna,”, Bologna, Italy
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  • Emil Malucelli PhD,

    1. Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Laura Ludovica Gramegna MD,

    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Raffaele Lodi MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    • Correspondence to: Dr. Raffaele Lodi, Functional MR Unit, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DiBiNeM), University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy; raffaele.lodi@unibo.it

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  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Giovanni Rizzo has received a research grant from the Fondazione Neureca Onlus.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

ABSTRACT

Background

The objective of this study was to use phase imaging to evaluate brain iron content in patients with idiopathic restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Methods

Fifteen RLS patients and 15 healthy controls were studied using gradient-echo imaging. Phase analysis was performed on localized brain regions of interest selected on phase maps, sensitive to paramagnetic tissue. Differences between the 2 subject groups were evaluated using ANCOVA including age as a covariate.

Results

Significantly higher phase values were present in the RLS patients compared with healthy controls at the level of the substantia nigra, thalamus, putamen, and pallidum, indicating reduced iron content in several regions of the brain of the patients.

Conclusions

We have used MRI phase analysis to study brain iron content in idiopathic RLS in vivo for the first time. Our results support the hypothesis of reduced brain iron content in RLS patients, which may have an important role in the pathophysiology of the disorder. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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