Inflammatory Markers not Linked With Radiographic Osteoarthritis

August 26, 2011

In general, serum inflammatory markers are poorly associated with radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) of the hands and knees. A few markers may warrant further investigation for some OA phenotypes.

In general, serum inflammatory markers are poorly associated with radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) of the hands and knees. A few markers may warrant further investigation for some OA phenotypes.

Vlad and colleagues conducted analyses to assess the association of inflammatory markers with ROA using data from the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Blood samples were collected from patients, and standardized assays were used to measure serum markers of inflammation that could be associated with coronary heart disease; the investigators examined their possible relevance to OA. Radiographs of knees and hands were obtained, and each hand and knee joint was assigned a Kellgren and Lawrence score.

Of 1235 patients, 729 (59%) had ROA in 1 or more hand or knee joints; 317 (26%) had thumb base OA, 76 (6%) had distal interphalangeal joint OA, 28 (2%) had proximal interphalangeal joint OA, and 15 (1%) had metacarpophalangeal joint OA. There were 89 (7%) with bilateral knee OA. Joint-centered logistic regression models and patient-centered models did not demonstrate any convincing associations between the inflammatory markers and ROA.

The authors noted that further study is needed to establish whether any of these markers would perform better for more aggressive disease.