A 2014 Study Indicates that there is a Direct Link Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Inflammation

ImageInterleukin-17A is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IL17A gene. The protein encoded by this gene is a proinflammatory cytokine produced by activated T cells.
“IL17A” Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IL17A

As you will read below in the OBJECTIVE of Dr. Hennessey’s study, dopamine, iron and inflammatory pathways are considered important to the development of RLS.

My belief, as I’ve stated and provided evidence for on my website (links below) is that it is the inflammation that is affecting the dopamine and iron levels in RLS sufferers  – as well as creating the uncomfortable sensations in the legs.



At the very least, what you can take out of this study is that inflammation is now being directly linked to RLS by scientists. There are many other factors that need to be explored in the scientific community, but they are now at least agreeing, due to the growing body of evidence, that inflammation a primary component.

Here is the study:

 “Polymorphisms of Interleukin-1 Beta and Interleukin-17 Alpha Genes Are Associated With Restless Legs Syndrome.”
by Mary Dawn Hennessy, RN, PhD, Rochelle S. Zak, MD, Caryl L. Gay, PhD, Clive R. Pullinger, Kathryn A. Lee, RN, PhD and Bradley E. Aouizerat, MAS, PhD.  Biol Res Nurs April 2014 vol. 16 no. 2 143-151. doi: 10.1177/1099800413478827  


Dopamine, iron, and inflammatory pathways are considered important to the development of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Recent genetic studies support involvement of dopamine and iron; however, cytokine gene variation in the inflammatory component remains unexplored. A recent study reported a high prevalence of RLS among HIV-infected adults. We estimate occurrence of RLS in an ethnically diverse sample of HIV-infected adults and examine differences in demographic factors, clinical characteristics, and biomarkers relating to dopamine, iron, and inflammation between adults with and without RLS symptoms. Design: A prospective longitudinal study aimed at identifying biomarkers of RLS symptom experience among HIV-infected adults.


316 HIV-positive adults were evaluated using International RLS Study Group criteria. Genes were chosen for hypothesized relationships to dopamine (NOS1, NOS2), iron (HFE) or inflammation-mediated by cytokine genes (interferon [IFN], interleukin [IL], nuclear factor kappa-B [NFKB], and tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFA]).


Similar to general population estimates, 11% of the sample met all four RLS diagnostic criteria. Controlling for race, gender, and hemoglobin, carrying two copies of the minor allele for IL1B rs1143643, rs1143634, or rs1143633 or carrying the minor allele for IL17A rs8193036 was associated with increased likelihood of meeting RLS diagnostic criteria.


This study provides preliminary evidence of a genetic association between IL1B and IL17A genes and RLS.

You can read the study here:

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