Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

Associations between Radiographic Hand Osteoarthritis and Femorotibial Cartilage Thickness and Thinning in Subjects with Prevalent or at High Risk of Knee OsteoarthritisData from OAI.

Haugen2,  Ida Kristin, Cotofana5,  Sebastian, Englund3,  Martin, Kvien1,  Tore K., Dreher4,  Donatus, Nevitt6,  Michael C., Lane7,  Nancy E.

Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Diakonhjemmet Hospital
Lund University, Boston University, Lund, Sweden
Merck Serono SA
Paracelsus Medical University, Chondrometrics GmbH
UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Univ of California at Davis, Hillsborough, CA


Hand osteoarthritis (HOA) may represent generalized OA and a predisposition for knee OA. Previous studies have suggested that HOA is a risk factor for incident and progressive knee OA, but the relationship between HOA and MRI-based knee cartilage thickness has not been previously studied.


To evaluate whether radiographic HOA features are associated with knee cartilage thickness (cross-sectionally) and/or 1-year cartilage thinning.


We studied 765 knees from 765 OAI participants (455 women, mean (SD) age 62.5 (9.4) years) with prevalent or at high risk of knee OA. The dominant (n=467) or both hands (n=298) were imaged at baseline. One investigator scored the x-rays for presence of osteophytes (OP) and joint space narrowing (JSN) (grade 0–3) in the DIP, PIP, MCP and CMC-1 joints. If both hands were imaged, the hand with the highest total score was used for analyses. Total scores for OP (range 0–45) and JSN (range 0–45) were calculated. Femorotibial cartilage thickness (ThCtAB) was measured quantitatively from coronal FLASHwe images (0.E.1, 1.E.1) by Chondrometrics GmbH. In the cross-sectional analyses (linear regression), ThCtAB in the medial femorotibial compartment (MFTC) was the primary outcome. In thelongitudinal analyses (logistic regression), the ordered values (OV) of subregional cartilage thickness changes were used to define the outcome. OV1 represented the knee subregion with greatest cartilage thinning. The cut-off between progressors (cartilage thinning) and non-progressors (no/less cartilage thinning) was set to the median OV1 value. In the primary models, we evaluated the associations between radiographic HOA feature scores and ThCtAB with adjustment for age, sex and BMI. In the secondary models, separate analyses were done with knees grouped into two strata of knee OA at baseline (Kellgren-Lawrence grade (KLG) 0–2 and KLG 3–4)


Most patients had mild HOA with median (quartiles) scores of 3 (1–6) for OP and 8 (5–12) for JSN. Hand JSN and OP scores were significantly associated with reduced ThCtAB in MFTC at baseline after adjustment for covariates (table). The associations were greater in KLG 3–4 than KLG 0–2. The risk of 1-year cartilage thinning was inversely related to higher hand JSN score in the total sample, while not significant for the hand OP score or in the stratified analyses (table).

Table. Associations between hand features and ThCtAB in MFTC (cross-sectionally) and 1-year cartilage thinning in OV1 (longitudinally) (beta (p value)).

 All patients (n = 765)KLG 0–2 (n = 364)KLG 3–4 (n = 401)
Cross-sectionally (MFTC)   
  Hand OP score-0.01 (0.05)-0.002 (0.81)-0.02 (0.06)
  Hand JSN score-0.02 (<0.001)-0.01 (0.007)-0.03 (<0.001)
Longitudinally (OV1)   
  Hand OP score0.01 (0.74)-0.02 (0.45)0.02 (0.35)
  Hand JSN score-0.03 (0.05)-0.03 (0.23)-0.03 (0.14)


Radiographic HOA features were significantly associated with reduced knee cartilage thickness cross-sectionally, assessed by quantitative MRI. This may support an endogenous and generalized susceptibility for OA. In contrast, we found no consistent association between HOA and 1-year knee cartilage thinning, and re-evaluation of the sample after a longer period of follow-up is warranted.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Haugen, Ida Kristin, Cotofana, Sebastian, Englund, Martin, Kvien, Tore K., Dreher, Donatus, Nevitt, Michael C., et al; Associations between Radiographic Hand Osteoarthritis and Femorotibial Cartilage Thickness and Thinning in Subjects with Prevalent or at High Risk of Knee OsteoarthritisData from OAI. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :182
DOI: 10.1002/art.27951

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