Iron-deficiency and dopaminergic treatment effects on RLS-Like behaviors of an animal model with the brain iron deficiency pattern of the restless legs syndrome

Richard P. Allen, Christopher J. Earley, Byron C. Jones, Erica L. Unger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Brain iron deficiency (BID), especially for the substantia nigra (SN), without peripheral iron deficiency (ID) has been well documented as a ubiquitous finding for restless legs syndrome (RLS) patients. This close association suggests the biology of RLS BID can produce RLS symptoms. Association, however, cannot establish such a direct relationship. Instead, the BID of RLS could be experimentally produced to determine if it then produces significant RLS-like biological or behavioral features. Forward genetics approach led to identification from the BXD strains the BXD40 females (BXD40f) as a putative animal model for the RLS BID. The BXD40f on an iron-sufficient diet have a lower iron in the VMB (containing the SN) during the active but not inactive period. This was not found for the other BXD strains evaluated. The BXD40f on an ID diet uniquely have even greater reduced VMB but not peripheral iron, matching the RLS BID pathophysiology. A prior report found that the BXD40f on an iron-sufficient diet had an RLS-like behavior of increased activity occurring only in the last part of the active period that was not present in the other strains without the low VMB iron. This increased activity matches the circadian pattern of symptoms in RLS patients with increased urge or drive to move in the last part of the day. This study asks first: if you decrease the VMB iron by an iron deficient diet do the RLS-like behaviors worsen; and second will the dopaminergic treatments effective for RLS also reduce the worsened RLSlike behaviors. Methods: In sum, 13 BXD40f mice post weaning were randomly assigned for 100 days to either a iron-sufficient diet (n = 6) or an ID diet (N = 7). They were then evaluated for 24-h activity in their home cage using implanted G2 EMitter telemetry device. At 3 h before the end of the active period IP doses were given every other day of either: saline (vehicle only), 12.5 mg levodopa, 25 mg levodopa, 0.5 mg quinpirole, or 1 0.0 mg quinpirole. Results: The ID compared to irons-sufficient diet produced earlier onset of the RLS-like behavior matching the earlier onset of symptoms with increasing severity of RLS. The dopaminergic treatments significantly reduced the RLS-like behavior. Added analyses of the RLS-like behaviors as decreased resting times showed similar results to activity increases. Conclusions: These data demonstrate both that The BXD40f provide a useful animal model of RLS and also strongly support the hypothesis that the biology of RLS BID can produce RLS symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • BID
  • Brain iron deficiency
  • Circadian resting times
  • Iron deficient diet
  • RLS
  • Restless legs syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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