Putative Animal Models of Restless Legs Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Evaluation of Their Face and Construct Validity.

Silvani, Alessandro; Ghorayeb, Imad; Manconi, Mauro; Li, Yuqing; Clemens, Stefan (2023). Putative Animal Models of Restless Legs Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Evaluation of Their Face and Construct Validity. Neurotherapeutics, 20(1), pp. 154-178. Elsevier 10.1007/s13311-022-01334-4

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Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensorimotor disorder that severely affects sleep. It is characterized by an urge to move the legs, which is often accompanied by periodic limb movements during sleep. RLS has a high prevalence in the population and is usually a life-long condition. While its origins remain unclear, RLS is initially highly responsive to treatment with dopaminergic agonists that target D2-like receptors, in particular D2 and D3, but the long-term response is often unsatisfactory. Over the years, several putative animal models for RLS have been developed, mainly based on the epidemiological and neurochemical link with iron deficiency, treatment efficacy of D2-like dopaminergic agonists, or genome-wide association studies that identified risk factors in the patient population. Here, we present the first systematic review of putative animal models of RLS, provide information about their face and construct validity, and report their role in deciphering the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms that may cause or contribute to RLS. We propose that identifying the causal links between genetic risk factors, altered organ functions, and changes to molecular pathways in neural circuitry will eventually lead to more effective new treatment options that bypass the side effects of the currently used therapeutics in RLS, especially for long-term therapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Manconi, Mauro


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

20 Dec 2022 10:19

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2023 00:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Dopamine Genetics Iron Spinal cord Striatum





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