Extracellular vesicles reveal abnormalities in neuronal iron metabolism in restless legs syndrome

Sahil Chawla, Seema Gulyani, Richard P. Allen, Christopher J. Earley, Xu Li, Peter Van Zijl, DImitrios Kapogiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: Determine abnormalities in levels of iron-management proteins in neuronal origin-enriched extracellular vesicles (nEVs) in restless legs syndrome (RLS). Methods: We used immunoprecipitation for neuronal marker L1CAM to isolate nEVs from the serum of 20 participants with RLS from a study including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) determinations of iron deposition in the substantia nigra and hematologic parameters and 28 age- and sex-matched Controls. Results: RLS compared with Control participants showed higher levels of nEV total ferritin but similar levels of transferrin receptor and ferroportin. Western blot analysis showed that heavy- but not light-chain ferritin was increased in nEVs of RLS compared with Control participants. In RLS but not Control participants, nEV total ferritin was positively correlated with systemic iron parameters; the two groups also differed in the relation of nEV total ferritin to MRI measures of iron deposition in substantia nigra. Conclusions: Given the neuronal origin and diversity of EV cargo, nEVs provide an important platform for exploring the underlying pathophysiology and possible biomarkers of RLS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzsz079
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • exosomes
  • extracellular vesicles
  • ferritin
  • iron
  • restless legs syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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