Chronic inflammation markers and cytokine-specific autoantibodies in Danish blood donors with restless legs syndrome


Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological sensorimotor disorder negatively impacting sufferers' quality of sleep and health-related quality of life. The pathophysiology of RLS is poorly understood and research focusing on the link between RLS and inflammation has been limited. Our study aimed to investigate whether chronic inflammation markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), as well plasma levels of five different cytokine-specific autoantibodies (c-aAb), i.e. modulators of inflammation, associate with RLS in otherwise healthy individuals. CRP, suPAR and c-aAb were measured in plasma samples of participants from the Danish Blood Donor Study in 2010. Returning donors between 2015 and 2018 completed the validated Cambridge-Hopkins RLS-questionnaire for RLS assessment, resulting in datasets with RLS assessment and values for CRP (N = 3564), suPAR (N = 2546) and c-aAb (N = 1478). We performed logistic regression models using the CRP, suPAR or c-aAb as the independent variable and RLS status as the dependent variable, adjusted for appropriate covariates. Our study indicates that a high concentration of CRP is associated with RLS, while an increased probability of experiencing frequent RLS symptoms in those with an elevated plasma suPAR level appears to be mediated through lifestyle factors. We additionally report that a high titer of autoantibodies specific against the cytokine interferon-alpha was associated with RLS. Our results support the existence of links between systemic inflammation and RLS, though further RLS studies on CRP, suPAR and c-aAb in larger cohorts are warranted to confirm our findings and further reveal the hitherto underexplored links between RLS and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1672
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022


  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies/blood
  • Blood Donors
  • C-Reactive Protein/analysis
  • Cytokines/blood
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators/blood
  • Inflammation/blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator/blood
  • Restless Legs Syndrome/blood


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic inflammation markers and cytokine-specific autoantibodies in Danish blood donors with restless legs syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this