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Change in regional cartilage morphology and joint space width in osteoarthritis participants versus healthy controls: a multicentre study using 3.0 Tesla MRI and Lyon–Schuss radiography
  1. M-P Hellio Le Graverand1,
  2. R J Buck1,
  3. B T Wyman1,
  4. E Vignon2,
  5. S A Mazzuca3,
  6. K D Brandt4,
  7. M Piperno2,
  8. H C Charles5,
  9. M Hudelmaier6,
  10. D J Hunter7,
  11. C Jackson8,
  12. V Byers Kraus9,
  13. T M Link10,
  14. S Majumdar10,
  15. P V Prasad11,
  16. T J Schnitzer12,
  17. A Vaz13,
  18. W Wirth14,
  19. F Eckstein6,14
  1. 1
    Pfizer Global Research and Development, New London, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2
    Universite Claude Bernard, Lyon, France
  3. 3
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  4. 4
    Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA
  5. 5
    Duke Image Analysis Laboratory, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6
    Institute of Anatomy & Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University (PMU), Salzburg, Austria
  7. 7
    Division of Research, New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. 8
    Division of Rheumatology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  9. 9
    Department of Medicine, Duke University, Rheumatology & Immunology, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  10. 10
    Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  11. 11
    Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Department of Radiology, Evanston, Illinois, USA
  12. 12
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Feinberg, School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  13. 13
    Section of Rheumatology and Immunology, Arizona Arthritis Center, Department of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  14. 14
    Chondrometrics GmbH, Ainring, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor F Eckstein, Institute of Anatomy & Musculoskeletal Research, PMU, Strubergasse 21, A5020 Salzburg Austria; felix.eckstein{at}


Objective: Cartilage morphology displays sensitivity to change in osteoarthritis (OA) with quantitative MRI (qMRI). However, (sub)regional cartilage thickness change at 3.0 Tesla (T) has not been directly compared with radiographic progression of joint space narrowing in OA participants and non-arthritic controls.

Methods: A total of 145 women were imaged at 7 clinical centres: 86 were non-obese and asymptomatic without radiographic OA and 55 were obese with symptomatic and radiographic OA (27 Kellgren–Lawrence grade (KLG)2 and 28 KLG3). Lyon–Schuss (LS) and fixed flexion (FF) radiographs were obtained at baseline, 12 and 24 months, and coronal spoiled gradient echo MRI sequences at 3.0 T at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months. (Sub)regional, femorotibial cartilage thickness and minimum joint space width (mJSW) in the medial femorotibial compartment were measured and the standardised response means (SRMs) determined.

Results: At 6 months, qMRI demonstrated a −3.7% “annualised” change in cartilage thickness (SRM −0.33) in the central medial femorotibial compartment (cMFTC) of KLG3 subjects, but no change in KLG2 subjects. The SRM for mJSW in 12-month LS/FF radiographs of KLG3 participants was −0.68/−0.13 and at 24 months was −0.62/−0.20. The SRM for cMFTC changes measured with qMRI was −0.32 (12 months; −2.0%) and −0.48 (24 months; −2.2%), respectively.

Conclusions: qMRI and LS radiography detected significant change in KLG3 participants at high risk of progression, but not in KLG2 participants, and only small changes in controls. At 12 and 24 months, LS displayed greater, and FF less, sensitivity to change in KLG3 participants than qMRI.

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  • Funding This study was funded by Pfizer.

  • Competing interests M-PHLeG, RJB and BTW are employed by Pfizer Inc. EV, MP and HCC receive grant support from Pfizer. SAM receives grant support from and provides consulting services to Pfizer. KDB provides consulting services to Pfizer. MH has a part time appointment with Chondrometrics GmbH. DJH receives grant support from Pfizer, Merck, Stryker, Wyeth, Lilly and DonJoy. CJ, VBK, SM, PVP, TJS and AV receive research grants from Pfizer. TML receives research grants from Pfizer and Merck. WW works for Chondrometrics GmbH. FE is CEO of Chondrometrics GmbH. FE also provides consulting services to Pfizer, MerckSerono, Novo Nordisk and Wyeth.

  • Ethics approval The study was conducted in compliance with the ethical principles derived from the Declaration of Helsinki and in compliance with local Institutional Review Board, informed consent regulations and International Conference on Harmonization Good Clinical Practices Guidelines.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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