The relationship between retinal vessel calibre and knee cartilage and BMLsReport as inadecuate

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

, 13:255

First Online: 20 December 2012Received: 12 February 2012Accepted: 07 December 2012


BackgroundWhether the increase in vascular disease prevalence and mortality in OA populations is a result of co-occurrence of cardiovascular disease and OA, which are both common in the older population, is due to OA treatments or to the common association with reduced physical activity and-or obesity is unclear. One way to explore this non-invasively is to examine the cross-sectional relationship between changes in retinal microvasculature, which have been shown to be markers of generalized vascular pathology, and knee structural changes in an asymptomatic community-based population.

MethodsA community sample of 289 61% women aged 50–79 years with no knee symptoms underwent magnetic resonance imaging MRI of their dominant knee in 2003. Cartilage volume and bone marrow lesions BMLs were determined. All subjects also had retinal photographs taken from which retinal arteriolar and venular diameters were determined and summarized as the central retinal arteriolar equivalent CRAE and the central retinal venular equivalent CRVE.

ResultsRetinal venular diameter was significantly wider in subjects with a BML compared with subjects without a BML mean SD 214.2 2.8 μm versus 207.5 1.1 μm respectively independent of age, gender and BMI. A trend for decreased medial tibial cartilage with increasing CRAE was also observed regression coefficient −2.70 μl, 95%CI-5.74, 0.5, p=0.08.

ConclusionThese findings suggest that vascular pathology, indicative of inflammatory processes, is associated with early structural knee changes. The role of micro-vascular changes in the pathogenesis of OA warrants further investigation.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2474-13-255 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Miranda L Davies-Tuck - Ryo Kawasaki - Anita E Wluka - Tien Y Wong - Lauren Hodgson - Dallas R English - Graham G Gile


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