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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2009 Sep;17(9):1170-6. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Relation of regional articular cartilage morphometry and meniscal position by MRI to joint space width in knee radiographs.

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Division of Research, New England Baptist Hospital, 125 Parker Hill Ave, Boston, MA 02120, USA.



To ascertain the contribution of articular cartilage morphometry and meniscal position on MRI to joint space width (JSW) measured in the Lyon schuss radiograph of the knee.


62 obese women with knee OA and 99 non-obese female controls (mean age 56.6 years) were imaged using 3T MRI and coronal water excitation spoiled gradient echo sequences. Segmentation of femorotibial cartilage morphology and regional morphometric analysis was performed using custom software. Meniscal position was measured quantitatively in sagittal and coronal planes. Minimum space width (mJSW) was measured in the Lyon Schuss knee radiograph; Kellgren and Lawrence grades (KLG) were assigned on standing anteroposterior knee films. The relative contribution of regional cartilage thickness and meniscal position to mJSW was assessed initially in univariate models and subsequently with multivariable modelling.


65% of the variation in mJSW was explained by regional cartilage thickness measures, different KLG and meniscal coverage. Of these measures the medial tibia cartilage thickness measures and central region of the central medial femur (ccMF) play a consistent role in variations in mJSW observed across all KLG. Further ccMF and the addition of percent meniscal coverage to this model explains the remaining differences in mean mJSW found between those subjects with definite joint space narrowing (KLG3) and those without OA.


The variation in radiographic mJSW is best described by five regional cartilage thickness measures and percent meniscal coverage. The magnitude of each measures contribution differs according to radiographic severity with more variability explained by cartilage thickness of ccMF cartilage thickness and percent meniscal coverage with more severe disease.

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