J Clin Neurol.  2022 May;18(3):290-297. 10.3988/jcn.2022.18.3.290.

Alterations of Functional Connectivity in Patients With Restless Legs Syndrome

  • 1Department of Neurology, Haeundae Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Neurology, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 3Department of Neurology, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea
  • 4Department of Neurology, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea
  • 5Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 6Department of Neurology, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 7Department of Neurology, Konyang University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
  • 8Department of Neurology, Chungnam National University Sejong Hospital, Sejong, Korea


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological illness marked by a strong desire to move one’s legs, usually in association with uncomfortable sensations. Recent studies have investigated brain networks and connectivity in RLS. The advent of network analysis has greatly improved our understanding of the brain and various neurological disorders. A few studies have investigated alterations in functional connectivity in patients with RLS. This article reviews functional connectivity studies of patients with RLS, which have identified significant alterations relative to healthy controls in several brain networks including thalamic, salience, default-mode, and small-world networks. In addition, network changes related to RLS treatment have been found, including to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcutaneous spinal cord direct-current stimulation, and dopaminergic drugs. These findings suggest that the underlying pathogenesis of RLS includes alterations in the functional connectivity in the brain and that RLS is a network disorder.


restless legs syndrome; brain; magnetic resonance imaging
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