Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flies with restless legs syndrome point to a genetic cause

Date:
May 31, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When flies are made to lose a gene with links to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), they suffer the same sleep disturbances and restlessness that human patients do. The findings strongly suggest a genetic basis for RLS, a condition in which patients complain of an irresistible urge to move that gets worse as they try to rest.

When flies are made to lose a gene with links to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), they suffer the same sleep disturbances and restlessness that human patients do. The findings reported online on May 31 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, strongly suggest a genetic basis for RLS, a condition in which patients complain of an irresistible urge to move that gets worse as they try to rest.

Related Articles


"Although widely prevalent, RLS is a disorder whose pathophysiological basis remains very poorly understood," said Subhabrata Sanyal of Emory University School of Medicine. "The major significance of our study is to highlight the fact that there might be a genetic basis for RLS. Understanding the function of these genes also helps to understand and diagnose the disease and may offer more focused therapeutic options that are currently limited to very general approaches."

Sanyal's team recognized that a number of genome-wide association studies in humans had suggested connections between RLS and variation in a single gene (BTBD9).

"BTBD9 function or its relationship to RLS and sleep were a complete mystery," Sanyal said.

His team realized that there might be a way to shed some light on that mystery in fruit flies. Flies have a single, highly conserved version of the human BTBD9. They decided to test whether the gene that had turned up in those human studies would have any effect on sleep in the insects. In fact, flies need sleep just like humans do, and their sleep patterns are influenced by the same kinds of brain chemistry.

The researchers now report that flies lacking their version of the RLS-associated gene do lose sleep as they move more. When those flies were treated with a drug used for RLS, they showed improvements in their sleep.

The studies also yielded evidence about how the RLS gene works by controlling dopamine levels in the brain as well as iron balance in cells. Sanyal said his team will continue to explore other RLS-related genes that have been identified in human studies in search of more details of their interaction and function.

"Our results support the idea that genetic regulation of dopamine and iron metabolism constitute the core pathophysiology of at least some forms of RLS," the researchers write.

More broadly, they say, the study emphasizes the utility of simple animals such as fruit flies in unraveling the genetics of sleep and sleep disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda Freeman, Elaine Pranski, R.Daniel Miller, Sara Radmard, Doug Bernhard, H.A. Jinnah, Ranjita Betarbet, DavidB. Rye, Subhabrata Sanyal. Sleep Fragmentation and Motor Restlessness in a Drosophila Model of Restless Legs Syndrome. Current Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.027

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Flies with restless legs syndrome point to a genetic cause." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531135635.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, May 31). Flies with restless legs syndrome point to a genetic cause. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531135635.htm
Cell Press. "Flies with restless legs syndrome point to a genetic cause." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531135635.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins