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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2011 May;50(5):962-5. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keq415. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

The power Doppler ultrasonography score from 24 synovial sites or 6 simplified synovial sites, including the metacarpophalangeal joints, reflects the clinical disease activity and level of serum biomarkers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Immunology and Rheumatology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan.



We evaluated the significance of the power Doppler ultrasonography (PDUS) score by comparing it with serum biomarkers and clinical disease activity.


We measured the PDUS scores of 24 synovial sites in 12 joints in 22 RA patients. For convenience, the PDUS scores of six synovial sites in six joints were also examined. Each joint was scored for a power Doppler (PD) signal on a scale from 0 to 3. The PDUS scores are the sums of the PD signal scores for the 24 synovial sites or the 6 synovial sites. On the same day, serum variables as well as clinical disease activity were evaluated.


The PDUS scores from the 24 joint sites were significantly positively correlated with DAS of 28 joints (DAS-28), simplified disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI) and serum biomarkers including MMP-3, VEGF and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1). Accordingly, the PDUS scores from the six synovial sites greatly correlated with those from the 24 joint sites. Clinical disease activities as well as serum variables were also clearly correlated with the PDUS scores from the six synovial sites.


The standard as well as the simplified PDUS scores well reflected clinical disease activity and serum variables, including angiogenic factors. Our data reaffirm the utility of ultrasonography for monitoring disease activity in patients with RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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