Nerve cells supplying muscles in the leg are responsible
Researchers at University of Göttingen, Germany, have identified nerve excitability of motor nerve cells trigger restless legs syndrome.According to Dirk Czesni, “the mechanisms for Restless Legs Syndrome are still not completely understood.
“We have shown that the nerve cells supplying muscles in the leg are responsible,”
says the lead autor of a study published in the Journal of Physiology that may present a breakthrough in the treatment of RLS .
RLS is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming irresistible urge to move the legs. Patients complain of unpleasant symptoms such as tingling, burning and painful cramping sensations in the leg. More than 80% of people with RLS experience their legs jerking or twitching uncontrollably, usually at night.
Until now it was thought that RLS is caused by genetic, metabolic and central nervous system mechanisms. For the first time the researchers show that, in fact, it is not only the central nervous system but also the peripheral nerve cells targeting the muscles themselves that are responsible. Due to an increased excitability of the nerve cells that supply the muscles in the leg, an increased number of signals is being sent between nerve cells.
According to the research team from University of Gottingen, University of Sydney, and Vanderbilt University, targeting the way messages are sent between nerve cells to reduce the number of messages to normal levels may help prevent the symptoms of RLS . This could be achieved by new drugs that block the ion channels that are essential for the communication between nerve cells. Tests are already underway.