CSF dopamine, serotonin, and biopterin metabolites in patients with restless legs syndrome

Christopher J. Earley, Keith Hyland, Richard P. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the role of CNS dopaminergic systems in Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), homovanillic acid (HVA), tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), and neopterin (NEOP), were assayed in CSF from RLS patients. The serotonin metabolite, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), was also measured. Methods: CSF was taken from 16 RLS patients after 2 weeks off medication and from 14 control subjects. The CSF metabolites were determined using HPLC techniques. Results: There was no significant difference in HVA or 5-HIAA, but NEOP and BH4 were higher in RLS patients. The RLS group was significantly older than the control group (64.2 ± 9.2 years vs. 51.4 ± 6.3 years; P < 0.001). A multiple regression analysis showed a strong correlation between age and 5-HIAA (r = 0.46, P = 0.04) and between age and NEOP (r = 0.61, P < 0.01). To eliminate the potential error created by the age difference between groups, an age-adjusted subgroup of RLS and control subjects were compared. There was still no difference found for HVA; however, 5-HIAA was now significantly lower (P < 0.01) in the RLS subgroup. Age-adjustment eliminated the differences previously found for NEOP, (P = 0.12), but BH4 continued to remain higher in the RLS group (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Differences in CSF HVA concentrations were not found. The changes in 5-HIAA and BH4 are of unclear clinical significance and require further assessment with appropriate age-matched controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Biopterin
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Dopamine
  • Restless legs sydrome
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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