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1.  The diagnostic performance of MRI in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Osteoarthritis (OA) is currently diagnosed using clinical and radiographic findings. In recent years MRI use in osteoarthritis has increasingly been studied. This study was conducted to determine the diagnostic utility of MRI in OA through a meta-analysis of published studies.
A systematic literature search was undertaken to include studies that used MRI to evaluate or detect osteoarthritis. MRI was compared to various reference standards: histology, arthroscopy, radiography, CT, clinical evaluation, and direct visual inspection. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve were calculated. Random effects models were used to pool results.
Of 20 relevant studies identified from the literature, 16 reported complete data and were included in the meta-analysis, with a total of 1220 patients (1071 with OA and 149 without). Overall sensitivity from pooling data of all the included studies was 61% (95% confidence interval [CI] 53 to 68), specificity was 82% (95% CI 77 to 87), PPV was 85% (95% CI 80 to 88), and NPV was 57% (95% CI 43 to 70). The ROC showed an area under the curve of 0.804. There was significant heterogeneity in the above parameters (I2 >83%). With histology as the reference standard, sensitivity increased to 74% and specificity decreased to 76% compared with all reference standards combined. When arthroscopy was used as the reference standard, sensitivity increased to 69% and specificity to 93% compared with all reference standards combined.
MRI can detect OA with an overall high specificity and moderate sensitivity when compared with various reference standards, thus lending more utility to ruling out OA than ruling it in. The sensitivity of MRI is below the current clinical diagnostic standards. At this time standard clinical algorithm for OA diagnosis, aided by radiographs appears to be the most effective method for diagnosing OA.
PMCID: PMC3934362  PMID: 22044841
Osteoarthritis; diagnosis; MRI
2.  Adiposity and hand osteoarthritis: the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study 
Obesity, usually characterized by the body mass index (BMI), is a risk factor for hand osteoarthritis (OA). We investigated whether adipose tissue and abdominal fat distribution are associated with hand OA.
The Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study is a population-based cohort aged 45 to 65 years, including 5315 participants (53% women, median BMI 29.9 kg/m2). Fat percentage and fat mass (FM) (kg) were estimated using bioelectrical impedance analysis. The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was calculated. In 1721 participants, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) (cm2) were assessed using abdominal MR imaging. Hand OA was defined according to the ACR criteria.
Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for the association of fat percentage, FM, WHR, VAT and SAT with hand OA using logistic regression analyses per standard deviation, stratified by sex and adjusted for age.
Hand OA was present in 8% of men and 20% of women. Fat percentage was associated with hand OA in men (OR 1.34 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.61)) and women (OR 1.26 (1.05 to 1.51)), as was FM. WHR was associated with hand OA in men (OR 1.45 (1.13 to 1.85)), and to a lesser extent in women (OR 1.17 (1.00 to 1.36)). Subgroup analysis revealed that VAT was associated with hand OA in men (OR1.33 (1.01 to 1.75)). This association increased after additional adjustment for FM (OR 1.51 (1.13 to 2.03)).
Fat percentage, FM and WHR were associated with hand OA. VAT was associated with hand OA in men, suggesting involvement of visceral fat in hand OA.
PMCID: PMC3978723  PMID: 24447395
3.  Comparison of clinical burden between patients with erosive hand osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis in symptomatic community-dwelling adults: the Keele clinical assessment studies 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2013;52(12):2260-2267.
Objective. To investigate in the general population the clinical impact of erosive OA in interphalangeal joints (IPJs) compared with symptomatic radiographic hand OA and inflammatory arthritis.
Methods. Standardized assessments with hand radiographs were performed in participants of two population-based cohorts in North Staffordshire with hand symptoms lasting ≥1 day in the past month. Erosive OA was defined as the presence of an eroded or remodelled phase in ≥1 IPJ using the Verbruggen–Veys method. Radiographic hand OA was defined as the presence of ≥1 IPJ/first carpometacarpal joint with a Kellgren–Lawrence score of ≥2. Diagnoses of inflammatory arthritis were based on medical records. Hand pain and disability were assessed with the Australian/Canadian Hand Osteoarthritis Index (AUSCAN). Linear regression analyses were used to compare clinical determinants between groups and calculate mean differences with 95% CIs, adjusted for age and sex.
Results. Of 1076 participants with hand symptoms [60% women, mean age 64.8 years (s.d. 8.3 years)]; 80 persons (7.4%) had erosive OA. The population prevalence of erosive OA in ≥1 IPJ was 2.4% (95% CI 1.8, 3.0). Persons with erosive OA reported more pain and disability than persons with symptomatic radiographic hand OA [adjusted mean difference 1.3 (95% CI 0.3, 2.3) and 2.3 (95% CI 0.4, 4.2), respectively]. Individuals with inflammatory arthritis (n = 44) reported more pain and disability than those with erosive OA [adjusted mean difference 1.7 (95% CI 0.05, 3.4) and 6.3 (95% CI 2.8, 9.9), respectively].
Conclusion. While erosive OA has a greater impact than symptomatic radiographic hand OA in the general population, it is not as severe in terms of hand pain and disability as inflammatory RA.
PMCID: PMC3828511  PMID: 24046470
erosions; hand osteoarthritis; inflammatory arthritis; pain; function
4.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis of chronic widespread pain: evidence for involvement of the 5p15.2 region 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(3):427-436.
Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ~10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48-52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP.
We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1,308 female CWP cases and 5,791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1,480 CWP cases and 7,989 controls (P<1×10−5). Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain.
The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of CCT5 and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (MAF=43%; OR=1.30, 95%CI=1.19-1.42, P=1.2×10−8). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95%CI=1.10-1.24, P=4.7×10−7) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95%CI=1.14-1.32, P=3.4×10−8, I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (P>7.7×10−4).
We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
PMCID: PMC3691951  PMID: 22956598
Gene Polymorphism; Fibromyalgia/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
5.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies confirms a susceptibility locus for knee osteoarthritis on chromosome 7q22 
Evangelou, Evangelos | Valdes, Ana M. | Kerkhof, Hanneke J.M | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Zhu, YanYan | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Lories, Rik J. | Karassa, Fotini B. | Tylzanowski, Przemko | Bos, Steffan D. | Akune, Toru | Arden, Nigel K. | Carr, Andrew | Chapman, Kay | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Dai, Jin | Deloukas, Panos | Doherty, Michael | Doherty, Sally | Engstrom, Gunnar | Gonzalez, Antonio | Halldorsson, Bjarni V. | Hammond, Christina L. | Hart, Deborah J. | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Hofman, Albert | Ikegawa, Shiro | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Jiang, Qing | Jonsson, Helgi | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kawaguchi, Hiroshi | Kisand, Kalle | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Kujala, Urho M. | Lohmander, L. Stefan | Loughlin, John | Luyten, Frank P. | Mabuchi, Akihiko | McCaskie, Andrew | Nakajima, Masahiro | Nilsson, Peter M. | Nishida, Nao | Ollier, William E.R. | Panoutsopoulou, Kalliope | van de Putte, Tom | Ralston, Stuart H. | Rivadeneira, Fernado | Saarela, Janna | Schulte-Merker, Stefan | Slagboom, P. Eline | Sudo, Akihiro | Tamm, Agu | Tamm, Ann | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Tsezou, Aspasia | Wallis, Gillian A. | Wilkinson, J. Mark | Yoshimura, Noriko | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Zhai, Guangju | Zhang, Feng | Jonsdottir, Ingileif | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Felson, David T | van Meurs, Joyce B. | Stefansson, Kari | Ioannidis, John P.A. | Spector, Timothy D.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(2):349-355.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis and accounts for substantial morbidity and disability, particularly in the elderly. It is characterized by changes in joint structure including degeneration of the articular cartilage and its etiology is multifactorial with a strong postulated genetic component. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association (GWA) studies of 2,371 knee OA cases and 35,909 controls in Caucasian populations. Replication of the top hits was attempted with data from additional ten replication datasets. With a cumulative sample size of 6,709 cases and 44,439 controls, we identified one genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 7q22 for knee OA (rs4730250, p-value=9.2×10−9), thereby confirming its role as a susceptibility locus for OA. The associated signal is located within a large (500kb) linkage disequilibrium (LD) block that contains six genes; PRKAR2B (protein kinase, cAMP-dependent, regulatory, type II, beta), HPB1 (HMG-box transcription factor 1), COG5 (component of oligomeric golgi complex 5), GPR22 (G protein-coupled receptor 22), DUS4L (dihydrouridine synthase 4-like), and BCAP29 (the B-cell receptor-associated protein 29). Gene expression analyses of the (six) genes in primary cells derived from different joint tissues confirmed expression of all the genes in the joint environment.
PMCID: PMC3615180  PMID: 21068099
6.  A Meta-Analysis of Thyroid-Related Traits Reveals Novel Loci and Gender-Specific Differences in the Regulation of Thyroid Function 
Porcu, Eleonora | Medici, Marco | Pistis, Giorgio | Volpato, Claudia B. | Wilson, Scott G. | Cappola, Anne R. | Bos, Steffan D. | Deelen, Joris | den Heijer, Martin | Freathy, Rachel M. | Lahti, Jari | Liu, Chunyu | Lopez, Lorna M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Trompet, Stella | Arnold, Alice | Bandinelli, Stefania | Beekman, Marian | Böhringer, Stefan | Brown, Suzanne J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Camaschella, Clara | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Davies, Gail | de Visser, Marieke C. H. | Ford, Ian | Forsen, Tom | Frayling, Timothy M. | Fugazzola, Laura | Gögele, Martin | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hermus, Ad R. | Hofman, Albert | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Kajantie, Eero | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Lim, Ee M. | Masciullo, Corrado | Mariotti, Stefano | Minelli, Cosetta | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Netea-Maier, Romana T. | Palotie, Aarno | Persani, Luca | Piras, Maria G. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Räikkönen, Katri | Richards, J. Brent | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Sala, Cinzia | Sabra, Mona M. | Sattar, Naveed | Shields, Beverley M. | Soranzo, Nicole | Starr, John M. | Stott, David J. | Sweep, Fred C. G. J. | Usala, Gianluca | van der Klauw, Melanie M. | van Heemst, Diana | van Mullem, Alies | H.Vermeulen, Sita | Visser, W. Edward | Walsh, John P. | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Widen, Elisabeth | Zhai, Guangju | Cucca, Francesco | Deary, Ian J. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fox, Caroline S. | Jukema, J. Wouter | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Schlessinger, David | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Slagboom, Eline P. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Vaidya, Bijay | Visser, Theo J. | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce H. R. | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Rotter, Jerome I. | Spector, Tim D. | Hicks, Andrew A. | Toniolo, Daniela | Sanna, Serena | Peeters, Robin P. | Naitza, Silvia | McCarthy, Mark I.
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(2):e1003266.
Thyroid hormone is essential for normal metabolism and development, and overt abnormalities in thyroid function lead to common endocrine disorders affecting approximately 10% of individuals over their life span. In addition, even mild alterations in thyroid function are associated with weight changes, atrial fibrillation, osteoporosis, and psychiatric disorders. To identify novel variants underlying thyroid function, we performed a large meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for serum levels of the highly heritable thyroid function markers TSH and FT4, in up to 26,420 and 17,520 euthyroid subjects, respectively. Here we report 26 independent associations, including several novel loci for TSH (PDE10A, VEGFA, IGFBP5, NFIA, SOX9, PRDM11, FGF7, INSR, ABO, MIR1179, NRG1, MBIP, ITPK1, SASH1, GLIS3) and FT4 (LHX3, FOXE1, AADAT, NETO1/FBXO15, LPCAT2/CAPNS2). Notably, only limited overlap was detected between TSH and FT4 associated signals, in spite of the feedback regulation of their circulating levels by the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Five of the reported loci (PDE8B, PDE10A, MAF/LOC440389, NETO1/FBXO15, and LPCAT2/CAPNS2) show strong gender-specific differences, which offer clues for the known sexual dimorphism in thyroid function and related pathologies. Importantly, the TSH-associated loci contribute not only to variation within the normal range, but also to TSH values outside the reference range, suggesting that they may be involved in thyroid dysfunction. Overall, our findings explain, respectively, 5.64% and 2.30% of total TSH and FT4 trait variance, and they improve the current knowledge of the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis function and the consequences of genetic variation for hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
Author Summary
Levels of thyroid hormones are tightly regulated by TSH produced in the pituitary, and even mild alterations in their concentrations are strong indicators of thyroid pathologies, which are very common worldwide. To identify common genetic variants associated with the highly heritable markers of thyroid function, TSH and FT4, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in 26,420 and 17,520 individuals, respectively, of European ancestry with normal thyroid function. Our analysis identified 26 independent genetic variants regulating these traits, several of which are new, and confirmed previously detected polymorphisms affecting TSH (within the PDE8B gene and near CAPZB, MAF/LOC440389, and NR3C2) and FT4 (within DIO1) levels. Gender-specific differences in the genetic effects of several variants for TSH and FT4 levels were identified at several loci, which offer clues to understand the known sexual dimorphism in thyroid function and pathology. Of particular clinical interest, we show that TSH-associated loci contribute not only to normal variation, but also to TSH values outside reference range, suggesting that they may be involved in thyroid dysfunction. Overall, our findings add to the developing landscape of the regulation of thyroid homeostasis and the consequences of genetic variation for thyroid related diseases.
PMCID: PMC3567175  PMID: 23408906
7.  OARSI/OMERACT Initiative to Define States of Severity and Indication for Joint Replacement in Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis. An OMERACT 10 Special Interest Group 
The Journal of Rheumatology  2011;38(8):1765-1769.
To define pain and physical function cutpoints that would, coupled with structural severity, define a surrogate measure of “need for joint replacement surgery,” for use as an outcome measure for potential structure-modifying interventions for osteoarthritis (OA).
New scores were developed for pain and physical function in knee and hip OA. A cross-sectional international study in 1909 patients was conducted to define data-driven cutpoints corresponding to the orthopedic surgeons’ indication for joint replacement. A post hoc analysis of 8 randomized clinical trials (1379 patients) evaluated the prevalence and validity of cutpoints, among patients with symptomatic hip/knee OA.
In the international cross-sectional study, there was substantial overlap in symptom levels between patients with and patients without indication for joint replacement; indeed, it was not possible to determine cutpoints for pain and function defining this indication. The post hoc analysis of trial data showed that the prevalence of cases that combined radiological progression, high level of pain, and high degree of function impairment was low (2%–12%). The most discriminatory cutpoint to define an indication for joint replacement was found to be [pain (0–100) + physical function (0–100) > 80].
These results do not support a specific level of pain or function that defines an indication for joint replacement. However, a tentative cutpoint for pain and physical function levels is proposed for further evaluation. Potentially, this symptom level, coupled with radiographic progression, could be used to define “nonresponders” to disease-modifying drugs in OA clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3260473  PMID: 21807799
8.  A Genome-Wide Association Study identifies a locus on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for osteoarthritis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2010;62(2):499-510.
To identify genes involved in osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent form of joint disease, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in which we tested 500,510 Single Nucelotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1341 OA cases and 3496 Dutch Caucasian controls. SNPs associated with at least two OA-phenotypes were analysed in 14,938 OA cases and approximately 39,000 controls. The C-allele of rs3815148 on chromosome 7q22 (MAF 23%, 172 kb upstream of the GPR22 gene) was consistently associated with a 1.14-fold increased risk (95%CI: 1.09–1.19) for knee- and/or hand-OA (p=8×10−8), and also with a 30% increased risk for knee-OA progression (95%CI: 1.03–1.64, p=0.03). This SNP is in almost complete linkage disequilibrium with rs3757713 (located 68 kb upstream of GPR22) which is associated with GPR22 expression levels in lymphoblast cell lines (p=4×10−12). GPR22 encodes an G-protein coupled receptor with unkown ligand (orphan receptor). Immunohistochemistry experiments showed absence of GPR22 in normal mouse articular cartilage or synovium. However, GPR22 positive chondrocytes were found in the upper layers of the articular cartilage of mouse knee joints that were challenged by in vivo papain treatment or in the presence of interleukin-1 driven inflammation. GRP22 positive chondrocyte-like cells were also found in osteophytes in instability-induced OA. In addition, GPR22 is also present in areas of the brain involved in locomotor function. Our findings reveal a novel common variant on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for prevalence and progression of OA.
PMCID: PMC3354739  PMID: 20112360
9.  The model of erosive hand osteoarthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(Suppl 2):A8.
PMCID: PMC3353576
10.  Recommendations for standardization and phenotype definitions in genetic studies of osteoarthritis: the TREAT-OA consortium 
To address the need for standardization of osteoarthritis (OA) phenotypes by examining the effect of heterogeneity among symptomatic (SOA) and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) phenotypes.
Descriptions of OA phenotypes of the 28 studies involved in the TREAT-OA consortium were collected. To investigate whether different OA definitions result in different association results, we created hip OA definitions used within the consortium in the Rotterdam Study-I and tested the association of hip OA with gender, age and BMI using one-way ANOVA. For radiographic OA, we standardized the hip, knee and hand ROA definitions and calculated prevalence's of ROA before and after standardization in 9 cohort studies. This procedure could only be performed in cohort studies and standardization of SOA definitions was not feasible at this moment.
In this consortium, all studies with symptomatic OA phenotypes (knee, hip and hand) used a different definition and/or assessment of OA status. For knee, hip and hand radiographic OA 5, 4 and 7 different definitions were used, respectively. Different hip OA definitions do lead to different association results. For example, we showed in the Rotterdam Study-I that hip OA defined as “at least definite JSN and one definite osteophyte” was not associated with gender (p=0.22), but defined as “at least one definite osteophyte” was significantly associated with gender (p=3×10−9). Therefore, a standardization process was undertaken for radiographic OA definitions. Before standardization a wide range of ROA prevalence's was observed in the 9 cohorts studied. After standardization the range in prevalence of knee and hip ROA was small. Standardization of SOA phenotypes was not possible due to the case-control design of the studies.
Phenotype definitions influence the prevalence of OA and association with clinical variables. ROA phenotypes within the TREAT-OA consortium were standardized to reduce heterogeneity and improve power in future genetics studies.
PMCID: PMC3236091  PMID: 21059398
11.  Effectiveness of intramuscular corticosteroid injection versus placebo injection in patients with hip osteoarthritis: design of a randomized double-blinded controlled trial 
Recent international guidelines recommend intra-articular corticosteroid injections for patients with hip osteoarthritis who have moderate to severe pain and do not respond satisfactorily to oral analgesic/anti-inflammatory agents. Of the five available randomized controlled trials, four showed positive effects with respect to pain reduction. However, intra-articular injection in the hip is complex because the joint is adjacent to important neurovascular structures and cannot be palpated. Therefore fluoroscopic or ultrasound guidance is needed.
The systemic effect of corticosteroids has been studied in patients with impingement shoulder pain. Gluteal corticosteroid injection was almost as effective as ultrasound-guided subacromial corticosteroid injection. Such a clinically relevant effect of a systemic corticosteroid injection offers a less complex alternative for treatment of patients with hip osteoarthritis not responsive to oral pain medication.
This is a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial. A total of 135 patients (aged > 40 years) with hip osteoarthritis and persistent pain despite oral analgesics visiting a general practitioner or orthopaedic surgeon will be included. They will be randomized to a gluteal intramuscular corticosteroid injection or a gluteal intramuscular placebo (saline) injection. The randomization will be stratified for setting (general practitioner and outpatient clinics of department of orthopaedics). Treatment effect will be evaluated by questionnaires at 2, 4, 6, and 12 weeks follow-up and a physical examination at 12 weeks. Primary outcome is severity of hip pain reported by the patients at 2-week follow-up. Statistical analyses will be based on the intention-to-treat principle.
This study will evaluate the effectiveness of an intramuscular corticosteroid injection on pain in patients with hip osteoarthritis. Patient recruitment has started.
Trial Registration
This trial is registered in the Dutch Trial Registry: number NTR2966.
PMCID: PMC3268743  PMID: 22151921
13.  Role of rheumatology clinical nurse specialists in optimizing management of hand osteoarthritis during daily practice in secondary care: an observational study 
The purpose of this study was to describe the effectiveness of a single one-hour consultation by a clinical nurse specialist in patients with hand osteoarthritis during daily rheumatology practice in secondary care.
Consecutive patients diagnosed by rheumatologists to have primary hand osteoarthritis and referred to the clinical nurse specialist were eligible for entry into this study. The standardized 1-hour consultation consisted of assessments and education on hand osteoarthritis by a clinical nurse specialist. Before and 3 months after the consultation, assessments were done to evaluate treatment (use of assistive devices, acetaminophen), health-related quality of life (physical component summary [PCS] score of Short-Form 36), and hand pain/function (Australian/ Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index [AUSCAN]). Paired t-tests and McNemar tests were used to analyze differences between baseline and follow-up. Satisfaction was measured after consultation at follow-up using a multidimensional questionnaire comprising 13 items (rated on a four-point scale).
A total of 439 patients were referred, with follow-up data available for 195 patients, comprising 177 (87%) females, and of mean age 59 ± 9.0 years. After consultation, the proportions of patients using assistive devices and/or acetaminophen increased significantly from 30% to 39% and from 35% to 49%, respectively. PCS improved significantly (P = 0.03) whereas AUSCAN hand pain/function showed no significant differences compared with baseline (P values 0.52 and 0.92, respectively). The proportions of patients reporting to be satisfied or fully satisfied ranged from 78% to 99% per item.
A single, comprehensive, standardized assessment and education by a clinical nurse specialist improved the physical dimension of health-related quality of life in hand osteoarthritis. Most patients were satisfied with the consultation. Further controlled trials are needed to determine the added value of the clinical nurse specialist in care for hand osteoarthritis.
PMCID: PMC3215348  PMID: 22135497
hand osteoarthritis; nursing; quality of life; satisfaction
14.  Association between Several Clinical and Radiological Determinants with Long-Term Clinical Progression and Good Prognosis of Lower Limb Osteoarthritis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25426.
To investigate the factors associated with clinical progression and good prognosis in patients with lower limb osteoarthritis (OA).
Cohort study of 145 patients with OA in either knee, hip or both. Progression was defined as 1) new joint prosthesis or 2) increase in WOMAC pain or function score during 6-years follow-up above pre-defined thresholds. Patients without progression with decrease in WOMAC pain or function score lower than pre-defined thresholds were categorized as good prognosis. Relative risks (RRs) for progression and good prognosis with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated by comparing the highest tertile or category to the lowest tertile, for baseline determinants (age, sex, BMI, WOMAC pain and function scores, pain on physical examination, total range of motion (tROM), osteophytes and joint space narrowing (JSN) scores), and for worsening in WOMAC pain and function score in 1-year. Adjustments were performed for age, sex, and BMI.
Follow-up was completed by 117 patients (81%, median age 60 years, 84% female); 62 (53%) and 31 patients (26%) showed progression and good prognosis, respectively. These following determinants were associated with progression: pain on physical examination (RR 1.2 (1.0 to 1.5)); tROM (1.4 (1.1 to 1.6); worsening in WOMAC pain (1.9 (1.2 to 2.3)); worsening in WOMAC function (2.4 (1.7 to 2.6)); osteophytes 1.5 (1.0 to 1.8); and JSN scores (2.3 (1.5 to 2.7)). Worsening in WOMAC pain (0.1 (0.1 to 0.8)) and function score (0.1 (0.1 to 0.7)), were negatively associated with good prognosis.
Worsening of self-reported pain and function in one year, limited tROM and higher osteophytes and JSN scores were associated with clinical progression. Worsening in WOMAC pain and function score in 1- year were associated with lower risk to have good prognosis. These findings help to inform patients with regard to their OA prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3198737  PMID: 22031816
15.  A genome-wide linkage scan reveals CD53 as an important regulator of innate TNF-α levels 
Cytokines are major immune system regulators. Previously, innate cytokine profiles determined by lipopolysaccharide stimulation were shown to be highly heritable. To identify regulating genes in innate immunity, we analyzed data from a genome-wide linkage scan using microsatellites in osteoarthritis (OA) patients (The GARP study) and their innate cytokine data on interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1Ra, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α. A confirmation cohort consisted of the Leiden 85-Plus study. In this study, a linkage analysis was followed by manual selection of candidate genes in linkage regions showing LOD scores over 2.5. An single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) gene tagging method was applied to select SNPs on the basis of the highest level of gene tagging and possible functional effects. QTDT was used to identify the SNPs associated with innate cytokine production. Initial association signals were modeled by a linear mixed model. Through these analyses, we identified 10 putative genes involved in the regulation of TNFα. SNP rs6679497 in gene CD53 showed significant association with TNFα levels (P=0.001). No association of this SNP was observed with OA. A novel gene involved in the innate immune response of TNFα is identified. Genetic variation in this gene may have a role in diseases and disorders in which TNFα is closely involved.
PMCID: PMC2987381  PMID: 20407468
linkage; osteoarthritis; immunity; TNF; GARP; CD53
16.  Automatic radiographic quantification of hand osteoarthritis; accuracy and sensitivity to change in joint space width in a phantom and cadaver study 
Skeletal Radiology  2011;41(1):41-49.
To validate a newly developed quantification method that automatically detects and quantifies the joint space width (JSW) in hand radiographs. Repeatability, accuracy and sensitivity to changes in JSW were determined. The influence of joint location and joint shape on the measurements was tested.
A mechanical micrometer set-up was developed to define and adjust the true JSW in an acrylic phantom joint and in human cadaver-derived phalangeal joints. Radiographic measurements of the JSW were compared to the true JSW. Repeatability, systematic error (accuracy) and sensitivity (defined as the smallest detectable difference (SDD)) were determined. The influence of joint position on the JSW measurement was assessed by varying the location of the acrylic phantom on the X-ray detector with respect to the X-ray beam and the influence of joint shape was determined by using morphologically different human cadaver joints.
The mean systematic error was 0.052 mm in the phantom joint and 0.210 mm in the cadaver experiment. In the phantom experiments, the repeatability was high (SDD = 0.028 mm), but differed slightly between joint locations (p = 0.046), and a change in JSW of 0.037 mm could be detected. Dependent of the joint shape in the cadaver hand, a change in JSW between 0.018 and 0.047 mm could be detected.
The automatic quantification method is sensitive to small changes in JSW. Considering the published data of JSW decline in the normal and osteoarthritic population, the first signs of OA progression with this method can be detected within 1 or 2 years.
PMCID: PMC3223586  PMID: 21311883
Validation; Joint space width; Osteoarthritis; Hand; Automatic quantification
17.  Common genetic variation in the Estrogen Receptor Beta (ESR2) gene and osteoarthritis: results of a meta-analysis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:164.
The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between common genetic variation of the ESR2 gene and osteoarthritis.
In the discovery study, the Rotterdam Study-I, 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped and tested for association with hip (284 cases, 2772 controls), knee (665 cases, 2075 controls), and hand OA (874 cases, 2184 controls) using an additive model. In the replication stage one SNP (rs1256031) was tested in an additional 2080 hip, 1318 knee and 557 hand OA cases and 4001, 2631 and 1699 controls respectively. Fixed- and random-effects meta-analyses were performed over the complete dataset including 2364 hip, 1983 knee and 1431 hand OA cases and approximately 6000 controls.
The C allele of rs1256031 was associated with a 36% increased odds of hip OA in women of the Rotterdam Study-I (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.08-1.70, p = 0.009). Haplotype analysis and analysis of knee- and hand OA did not give additional information. With the replication studies, the meta-analysis did not show a significant effect of this SNP on hip OA in the total population (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.99-1.15, p = 0.10). Stratification according to gender did not change the results. In this study, we had 80% power to detect an odds ratio of at least 1.14 for hip OA (α = 0.05).
This study showed that common genetic variation in the ESR2 gene is not likely to influence the risk of osteoarthritis with effects smaller than a 13% increase.
PMCID: PMC2997092  PMID: 21080949
18.  Research in hand osteoarthritis: time for reappraisal and demand for new strategies. An opinion paper 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(9):1157-1161.
Osteoarthritis of the hands is a prevalent musculoskeletal disease with a considerable effect on patients' lives, but knowledge and research results in the field of hand osteoarthritis are limited. Therefore, the Disease Characteristics in Hand OA (DICHOA) initiative was founded in early 2005 with the aim of addressing key issues and facilitating research into hand osteoarthritis.
To review and discuss current knowledge on hand osteoarthritis with regard to aetiopathogenesis, diagnostic criteria, biomarkers and clinical outcome measures.
Recommendations were made based on a literature review.
Outcomes of hand osteoarthritis should be explored, including patient perspective on the separate components of disease activity, damage and functioning. All imaging techniques should be cross‐validated for hand osteoarthritis with clinical status, including disease activity, function and performance, biomarkers and long‐term outcome. New imaging modalities are available and need scoring systems and validation. The role of biomarkers in hand osteoarthritis has to be defined.
Future research in hand osteoarthritis is warranted.
PMCID: PMC1955144  PMID: 17360780
osteoarthritis; hand; outcome measures; biomarkers; imaging
19.  Positive association between increased popliteal artery vessel wall thickness and generalized osteoarthritis: is OA also part of the metabolic syndrome? 
Skeletal Radiology  2009;38(12):1147-1151.
The purpose of the study was to determine if a positive association exists between arterial vessel wall thickness and generalized osteoarthritis (OA). Our hypothesis is that generalized OA is another facet of the metabolic syndrome.
Materials and methods
The medical ethical review board of our institution approved the study. Written informed consent was obtained from each patient prior to the study. Magnetic resonance (MR) images of the knee were obtained in 42 patients who had been diagnosed with generalized OA at multiple joint sites. Another 27 MR images of the knee were obtained from a matched normal (non-OA) reference population. Vessel wall thickness of the popliteal artery was quantitatively measured by dedicated software. Linear regression models were used to investigate the association between vessel wall thickness and generalized OA. Adjustments were made for age, sex, and body mass index (BMI). Confidence intervals (CI) were computed at the 95% level and a significance level of α = 0.05 was used.
Patients in the generalized OA population had a significant higher average vessel wall thickness than persons from the normal reference population (p ≤ α), even when correction was made for sex, age, and BMI. The average vessel wall thickness of the popliteal artery was 1.09 mm in patients with generalized OA, and 0.96 mm in the matched normal reference population.
The association found between increased popliteal artery vessel wall thickness and generalized osteoarthritis suggests that generalized OA might be another facet of the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2773838  PMID: 19575196
Osteoarthritis; Popliteal artery; Metabolic syndrome; Magnetic resonance imaging
20.  Do MRI features at baseline predict radiographic joint space narrowing in the medial compartment of the osteoarthritic knee 2 years later? 
Skeletal Radiology  2008;37(9):805-811.
The purpose of the study was to relate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features at baseline with radiographically determined joint space narrowing (JSN) in the medial compartment of the knee after 2 years in a group of patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis at multiple joint sites.
Materials and methods
MRI of the knee and standardized radiographs were obtained at baseline and after 2 years in 186 patients (81% female; aged 43–76 years; mean 60 years). MRI was analyzed for bone marrow lesions, cysts, osteophytes, hyaline cartilage defects, joint effusion, and meniscal pathology in the medial compartment. Radiographs were scored semiquantitatively for JSN in the medial tibiofemoral joint using the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) atlas. Radiological progression was defined as ≥1 grade increase. Associations between baseline magnetic resonance (MR) parameters and subsequent radiographic JSN changes were assessed using logistic regression. Relative risk (RR) was then calculated.
Radiographic progression of JSN was observed in 17 (9.1%) of 186 patients. Eleven patients had a Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) score of ≥2. A significant association was observed between all patients and meniscal tears (RR 3.57; confidence interval (CI) 1.08–10.0) and meniscal subluxation (RR 2.73; CI 1.20–5.41), between KL < 2 and meniscal subluxation (RR 11.3; CI 2.49–29.49) and KL ≥ 2 and meniscus tears (RR 8.91; CI 1.13–22.84) and radiographic JSN 2 years later. Follow-up MR in 15 of 17 patients with progressive JSN showed only new meniscal abnormalities and no progression of cartilage loss.
Meniscal pathology (tears and/or meniscal subluxation) was the only MRI parameter to be associated with subsequent radiographic progression of JSN in the medial tibiofemoral compartment on a radiograph 2 years later, as assessed by the OARSI score.
PMCID: PMC2491711  PMID: 18566813
Knee MRI; Osteoarthritis; Meniscus pathology
21.  Bone marrow edema-like lesions change in volume in the majority of patients with osteoarthritis; associations with clinical features 
European Radiology  2007;17(12):3073-3078.
It has been suggested that bone marrow edema-like (BME) lesions in the knee are associated with progression of osteoarthritis (OA). The purpose of our study in patients with OA was to evaluate prospectively changes of BME lesions over 2 years and their relationship with clinical features. Magnetic resonance (MR) images of the knee were obtained from 182 patients (20% male; aged 43–76 years; mean age 59 years) who had been diagnosed with familial symptomatic OA at multiple joint sites. MR images were made at baseline and at 2 years follow-up. BME lesions in 2 years were associated with clinical features assessed by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) scores. A total of 327 BME lesions were recorded. Total size of BME lesions changed in 90 patients (66%). Size of individual lesions changed in 147 foci (45%): new lesions appeared in 69 (21%), existing lesions disappeared in 32 (10%), increased in size in 26 (8%) and decreased in size in 20 (6%) lesions. Increase or decrease of BME lesions, over a 2-year time period, was not associated with severity of WOMAC scores. BME lesions fluctuated in the majority of patients with OA over a 2-year time period. These changes were not associated with severity of WOMAC scores at the study end point.
PMCID: PMC2077908  PMID: 17823802
22.  Novel genetic variants associated with lumbar disc degeneration in northern Europeans: a meta-analysis of 4600 subjects 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(7):1141-1148.
Lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) is an important cause of low back pain, which is a common and costly problem. LDD is characterised by disc space narrowing and osteophyte growth at the circumference of the disc. To date, the agnostic search of the genome by genome-wide association (GWA) to identify common variants associated with LDD has not been fruitful. This study is the first GWA meta-analysis of LDD.
We have developed a continuous trait based on disc space narrowing and osteophytes growth which is measurable on all forms of imaging (plain radiograph, CT scan and MRI) and performed a meta-analysis of five cohorts of Northern European extraction each having GWA data imputed to HapMap V.2.
This study of 4600 individuals identified four single nucleotide polymorphisms with p<5×10−8, the threshold set for genome-wide significance. We identified a variant in the PARK2 gene (p=2.8×10−8) associated with LDD. Differential methylation at one CpG island of the PARK2 promoter was observed in a small subset of subjects (β=8.74×10−4, p=0.006).
LDD accounts for a considerable proportion of low back pain and the pathogenesis of LDD is poorly understood. This work provides evidence of association of the PARK2 gene and suggests that methylation of the PARK2 promoter may influence degeneration of the intervertebral disc. This gene has not previously been considered a candidate in LDD and further functional work is needed on this hitherto unsuspected pathway.
PMCID: PMC3686263  PMID: 22993228
Gene Polymorphism; Low Back Pain; Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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