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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Proteomic analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease

Stephanie M Patton1*, Yong Won Cho2, Thomas W Clardy1, Richard P Allen3, Christopher J Earley3 and James R Connor1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Penn State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania PA 17033, USA

2 DongSan Medical Center, Keimyung University, Taegu, Korea

3 Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

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Fluids and Barriers of the CNS 2013, 10:20  doi:10.1186/2045-8118-10-20

Published: 7 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED) is a sensorimotor disorder that causes patients to experience overwhelming and distressing sensations in the legs compelling the patient to move their legs to provide relief. The purpose of this study was to determine if biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid can distinguish RLS/WED patients from neurological controls.

Methods

We obtained CSF samples by lumbar puncture from 5 early-onset RLS/WED patients and 5 controls. We performed 2-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE). Proteins that were significantly altered were identified by Student’s t-test. Protein spots that were differentially expressed (p ≤ 0.05, Av. Ratio ≥ 2.0) between RLS/WED and control CSF samples were identified using MALDI-TOF-MS. Statistical analyses of the validation immunoblot assays were performed using Student’s t-test.

Results

In this discovery study we identified 6 candidate CSF protein markers for early-onset RLS/WED. Four proteins (Cystatin C, Lipocalin-type Prostaglandin D2 Synthase, Vitamin D binding Protein, and β-Hemoglobin) were increased and 2 proteins (Apolipoprotein A1 and α-1-acid Glycoprotein) were decreased in RLS/WED patients.

Conclusions

Our results reveal a protein profile in the RLS/WED CSF that is consistent with clinical findings of disruptive sleep, cardiovascular dysfunction and painful symptoms. Moreover, protein profiles are consistent with neuropathological findings of activation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathways and alterations in dopaminergic systems. These data indicate the CSF of RLS/WED patients may provide information relevant to biological basis for RLS/WED, treatment strategies and potential new treatment targets.

Keywords:
Sleep disorders; Restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease; Nitric oxide; Hypoxia inducible factor; Pain