Neuroimaging in Restless Legs Syndrome

Federica Provini, Giacomo Chiaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroimaging studies are of crucial relevance in defining the pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome (RLS). MRI studies showed no structural brain lesions and confirmed a central iron deficiency. Structural and functional studies showed an involvement of the thalamus, sensorimotor cortical areas, and cerebellum in RLS and assessed neurotransmission abnormalities in the dopaminergic and opiate systems. Finally, glutamatergic hyperactivity has been proposed as a cause of disrupted and shortened sleep in RLS. Differences among the results of the studies make it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions, thus, suggesting the need for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalSleep Medicine Clinics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • MRI
  • Neuroimaging
  • PET
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography
  • Voxel-based morphometry
  • Willis-Ekbom disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroimaging in Restless Legs Syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this