Associations between metabolic factors and radiographic knee osteoarthritis in early disease - a cross-sectional study of individuals with knee pain

Maria Andersson*, E. Haglund, K. Aili, A. Bremander, S. Bergman


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Objective: Metabolic factors have been shown to be associated to severe radiographic knee osteoarthritis (RKOA). However, more knowledge is needed in early clinical knee osteoarthritis (KOA). The aim was to study associations between metabolic factors and radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in individuals with knee pain. A second aim was to study associations between metabolic factors and RKOA in those with normal BMI and in those overweight/obese, respectively. Method: This cross-sectional study included 282 individuals with knee pain (without cruciate ligament injury) and aged 30–67 years, and 70% women. Waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), proportion of fat and visceral fat area (VFA) were assessed. RKOA was defined as Ahlbäck grade 1 in at least one knee. Fasting blood samples were taken and triglycerides, cholesterol (total, low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL)), C-reactive protein (CRP), glucose, HbA1C were analysed. Metabolic syndrome was defined in accordance with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Associations were analysed by logistic regression. Results: Individuals with RKOA were older, had higher BMI, higher VFA, larger waist circumference and had increased total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol, but not fasting glucose. There was no difference between the group with RKOA vs. non-radiographic group regarding the presence of metabolic syndrome. In a subgroup analysis of individuals with normal BMI (n = 126), those with RKOA had higher VFA, more central obesity, higher levels of CRP and total cholesterol, compared with individuals without RKOA. In individuals with obesity, age was the only outcome associated to RKOA. Conclusion: There were clear associations between metabolic factors and RKOA in individuals with knee pain, also in those with normal BMI. In individuals with obesity age was the only variable associated to RKOA. Trial registration:: Identifier: NCT04928170.

TidsskriftBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the participants for taking the time to participate in the study, along with those who help with the examinations. A special thanks to Jan Bagge, who took part in the development and design of the study, as a patient research partner. Authors’ information. MA is a biomedical scientist and Associate Professor in experimental rheumatology at Lund University, Sweden, with experience in knee OA, rheumatoid arthritis research and as a controller in both OA and rheumatoid arthritis cohorts. EH is a physiotherapist Associate Professor at Halmstad University, Sweden with long clinical experience in rheumatological diseases and research. KA is a physiotherapist, PhD, with experience in pain, sleep behaviour, sick leave and mechanical load research. AB is a physiotherapist and Professor in rheumatological rehabilitation, Odense University, Denmark, with long clinical and research experience of rheumatological diseases. SB is MD and Professor in primary health care, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, with a long clinical experience in primary health care and pain research.

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Swedish Rheumatism Association, grant number R-531621, R-635431, R-939824, R-967899, Targeted investment from the Swedish Rheumatism Association – Osteoarthritis from 2014 to 2019, and the Crafoord Foundation. The funders have not influenced the study design, collection, analysis, or interpretation of data, nor the writing of the manuscript or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


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