Serum hepcidin a biomarker for restless leg syndrome
Regardless of treatment, serum hepcidin is elevated in patients with restless leg syndrome (RLS) and may act as a biomarker for this condition, a recent study has found.
The study included 102 drug-free RLS patients (median age, 58.9 years; 63 women) whose serum levels of hepcidin and ferritin were measured using the appropriate immunoassays. Participants also underwent a one-night polysomnography in the sleep laboratory. A parallel group of 73 controls (median age, 56.8 years; 45 women) was also included.
Hepcidin levels were significantly elevated in RLS patients even after controlling for body mass index (median, 18.36 vs 11.89 µg/L; p<0.01). Categorizing patients into tertiles of hepcidin showed that that number of patients in each category grew with increasing hepcidin concentration. No such trend was observed for controls.
Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis found that at a hepcidin cut-off of 18.1 µg/L, serum concentrations became a decent discriminator of RLS, with a sensitivity of 52 percent and a specificity of 75 percent.
In contrast, ferritin was slightly higher in RLS patients than in controls upon unadjusted analysis, and this interaction was attenuated after controlling for body mass index.
“Due to the easy-to-use [enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay], hepcidin quantification could be implemented in the routine clinical practice, in view of a possible personalized approach before therapeutic management and potentially with hepcidin antagonists in some patients with RLS,” researchers said.