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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Mar;63(3):311-9. doi: 10.1002/acr.20370.

Rates of change and sensitivity to change in cartilage morphology in healthy knees and in knees with mild, moderate, and end-stage radiographic osteoarthritis: results from 831 participants from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria. felix.Eckstein@pmu.ac.at

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study the longitudinal rate of (and sensitivity to) change of knee cartilage thickness across defined stages of radiographic osteoarthritis (OA), specifically healthy knees and knees with end-stage radiographic OA.

METHODS:

One knee of 831 Osteoarthritis Initiative participants was examined: 112 healthy knees, without radiographic OA or risk factors for knee OA, and 719 radiographic OA knees (310 calculated Kellgren/Lawrence [K/L] grade 2, 300 calculated K/L grade 3, and 109 calculated K/L grade 4). Subregional change in thickness was assessed after segmentation of weight-bearing femorotibial cartilage at baseline and 1 year from coronal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Regional and ordered values (OVs) of change were compared by baseline radiographic OA status.

RESULTS:

Healthy knees displayed small changes in plates and subregions (±0.7%; standardized response mean [SRM] ±0.15), with OVs being symmetrically distributed close to zero. In calculated K/L grade 2 knees, changes in cartilage thickness were small (<1%; minimal SRM -0.22) and not significantly different from healthy knees. Knees with calculated K/L grade 3 showed substantial loss of cartilage thickness (up to -2.5%; minimal SRM -0.35), with OV1 changes being significantly (P < 0.05) greater than those in healthy knees. Calculated K/L grade 4 knees displayed the largest rate of loss across radiographic OA grades (up to -3.9%; minimal SRM -0.51), with OV1 changes also significantly (P < 0.05) greater than in healthy knees.

CONCLUSION:

MRI-based cartilage thickness showed high rates of loss in knees with moderate and end-stage radiographic OA, and small rates (indistinguishable from healthy knees) in mild radiographic OA. From the perspective of sensitivity to change, end-stage radiographic OA knees need not be excluded from longitudinal studies using MRI cartilage morphology as an end point.

PMID:
20957657
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3106126
Free PMC Article

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