30 July 2015
We evaluated cerebral white and gray matter changes in patients with iRLS in order to shed light on the pathophysiology of this disease.
Twelve patients with iRLS were compared to 12 age- and sex-matched controls using whole-head diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) techniques. Evaluation of the DTI scans included the voxelwise analysis of the fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD).
Diffusion tensor imaging revealed areas of altered FA in subcortical white matter bilaterally, mainly in temporal regions as well as in the right internal capsule, the pons, and the right cerebellum. These changes overlapped with changes in RD. Voxel-based morphometry did not reveal any gray matter alterations.
We showed altered diffusion properties in several white matter regions in patients with iRLS. White matter changes could mainly be attributed to changes in RD, a parameter thought to reflect altered myelination. Areas with altered white matter microstructure included areas in the internal capsule which include the corticospinal tract to the lower limbs, thereby supporting studies that suggest changes in sensorimotor pathways associated with RLS.