Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a complex sensorimotor disorder, classified among the sleep-related movement disorders. Although sensory symptoms appear as key features of the disorder, they are still poorly characterized from a clinical perspective and conceptualized from a pathophysiological point of view. In this review, we aim to describe the clinical and functional substrates of RLS, focusing mainly on its sensory symptoms and on their neurophysiological and anatomical correlates. Knowledge of both subjective sensory symptoms and objective sensory signs are still controversial. Current data also indicate that the sensory component of RLS seems to be subserved by anomalies of sensorimotor integration and by mechanism of central sensitization. Overall, electrophysiological findings highlight the involvement of multiple generators in the pathogenesis of RLS, eventually resulting in an increased nervous system excitability and/or alterations in inhibition within the somatosensory and nociceptive pathways. Structural and functional neuroimaging data show the involvement of several crucial areas and circuits, among which the thalamus appears to play a pivotal role. A holistic approach looking at brain connectivity, structural or functional abnormalities, and their interplay with molecular vulnerability and neurotransmitter alterations is warranted to disentangle the complex framework of RLS.

Sensory aspects of restless legs syndrome: clinical, neurophysiological and neuroimaging prospectives

Antelmi, Elena;Cartella, Sandy M;Tinazzi, Michele
2024-01-01

Abstract

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a complex sensorimotor disorder, classified among the sleep-related movement disorders. Although sensory symptoms appear as key features of the disorder, they are still poorly characterized from a clinical perspective and conceptualized from a pathophysiological point of view. In this review, we aim to describe the clinical and functional substrates of RLS, focusing mainly on its sensory symptoms and on their neurophysiological and anatomical correlates. Knowledge of both subjective sensory symptoms and objective sensory signs are still controversial. Current data also indicate that the sensory component of RLS seems to be subserved by anomalies of sensorimotor integration and by mechanism of central sensitization. Overall, electrophysiological findings highlight the involvement of multiple generators in the pathogenesis of RLS, eventually resulting in an increased nervous system excitability and/or alterations in inhibition within the somatosensory and nociceptive pathways. Structural and functional neuroimaging data show the involvement of several crucial areas and circuits, among which the thalamus appears to play a pivotal role. A holistic approach looking at brain connectivity, structural or functional abnormalities, and their interplay with molecular vulnerability and neurotransmitter alterations is warranted to disentangle the complex framework of RLS.
2024
Brain connectivity
Restless legs syndrome
Sensorimotor disorder
Sensory aspects
Sleep related movement disorders
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1127614
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