Longitudinal (One-Year) Change in Cartilage Thickness in Knees With Early Knee Osteoarthritis: A Within-Person Between-Knee Comparison

Authors

  • Sebastian Cotofana,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
    2. Chondrometrics GmbH, Ainring, Germany
    • Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Strubergasse 21, A5020 Salzburg, Austria. E-mail: sebastian.cotofana@pmu.ac.at

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  • Robert Buck,

    1. StatAnswers Consulting, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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    • Dr. Buck has received consultant fees, speaking fees, and/or honoraria (more than $10,000) from Chondrometrics GmbH.

  • Don Dreher,

    1. Merck Serono, Geneva, Switzerland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Totzke & Dreher Scientific, Geneva, Switzerland
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    • Dr. Dreher has received consultancy fees (more than $10,000) from Merck Serono.

  • Wolfgang Wirth,

    1. Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
    2. Chondrometrics GmbH, Ainring, Germany
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    • Dr. Wirth has a part-time appointment with and is co-owner of Chondrometrics GmbH, has received consultant fees, speaking fees, and/or honoraria (less than $10,000) from Merck Serono, and owns stock or stock options in Chondrometrics GmbH.

  • Frank Roemer,

    1. Quantitative Imaging Center, Boston University and Boston Core Imaging Lab, Boston, Massachusetts
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    • Dr. Roemer is co-owner of the Boston Imaging Core Lab, has received consultant fees, speaking fees, and/or honoraria (less than $10,000 each) from Merck Serono and the NIH, and owns stock or stock options in Boston Imaging Core Lab.

  • Jeff Duryea,

    1. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Michael Nevitt,

    1. University of California, San Francisco
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  • Felix Eckstein,

    1. Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
    2. Chondrometrics GmbH, Ainring, Germany
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    • Dr. Eckstein is Chief Executive Officer and co-owner of Chondrometrics GmbH, has received consultancy fees (less than $10,000 each) from Merck Serono and AbbVie, and owns stock or stock options in Chondrometrics GmbH.

  • for the Osteoarthritis Initiative Investigators


  • This manuscript has received the approval of the OAI Publications Committee based on a review of its scientific content and data interpretation.

Abstract

Objective

To test the hypothesis that cartilage displays significant longitudinal thickening in the external subregions of the central medial femur (ecMF) and lateral femur (ecLF) in knees with early radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) compared with contralateral knees without ROA, and to explore differences in change in other subregions and in radiographic joint space width (JSW).

Methods

Fifty participants (50% women, mean ± SD age 61.1 ± 9.7 years, and mean ± SD body mass index 27.7 ± 4.7 kg/m2) were identified from the Osteoarthritis Initiative cohort with definite femorotibial osteophytes but no joint space narrowing (JSN) in 1 knee (early ROA), and no osteophytes or JSN in the contralateral knee (non-ROA). A longitudinal within-person, between-knee comparison was performed using measures of subregional cartilage thickness based on analyses of sagittal double-echo steady-state magnetic resonance images obtained at baseline and 1 year. Medial JSW was evaluated from fixed-flexion radiographs.

Results

The change between baseline and 1 year was −6 ± 94 μm in ecMF and +18 ± 91 μm in ecLF in early ROA (P = 0.78) versus −1 ± 68 μm and +4 ± 76 μm in non-ROA knees (P = 0.38). The variability of cartilage thickness change tended to be greater in early ROA than in non-ROA knees. Greater cartilage thickness loss in the lateral tibia and a greater reduction in minimum medial JSW were observed in early ROA versus non-ROA knees.

Conclusion

There was no direct evidence of longitudinal cartilage thickening in external subregions of the central femur in knees with early ROA compared with contralateral non-ROA knees. The observed greater variability in longitudinal thickness change in early ROA knees (but not in non-ROA knees) might be due to cartilage thickening and thinning occurring simultaneously in these knees.

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