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Association between radiographic hand osteoarthritis and bone microarchitecture in a population-based sample

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:38 authored by Canchen Ma, Dawn AitkenDawn Aitken, Feitong WuFeitong Wu, Kathryn Squibb, Cicuttini, F, Graeme JonesGraeme Jones

Background: Subchondral bone plays an important role in the pathogenesis of radiographic osteoarthritis (OA). However, the bony changes that occur in hand OA (HOA) are much less understood. This study aimed to describe the association between radiographic HOA and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HRpQCT) measures of the hand and radius in a population-based sample.

Methods: A total of 201 participants (mean age 72, 46% female) from the Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort (TASOAC) study underwent HRpQCT assessment of the 2nd distal and proximal interphalangeal (DIP, PIP), 1st carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, and distal radius. Radiographic HOA was assessed at the 2nd DIP, PIP joints, and the 1st CMC joint using the OARSI atlas.

Results: Proximal osteophyte and joint space narrowing (JSN) scores were consistently more strongly associated with HRpQCT measures compared to the distal site with positive associations for indices of bone size (total and trabecular bone area and cortical perimeter but inconsistent for cortical area) and negative associations for volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD). There was a decrease in trabecular number and bone volume fraction with increasing osteophyte and JSN score as well as an increase in trabecular separation and inhomogeneity. Osteophyte and JSN scores in the hand were not associated with HRpQCT measures at the distal radius.

Conclusions: This hypothesis generating data suggests that bone size and trabecular disorganization increase with both osteophyte formation and JSN (proximal more than distal), while local vBMD decreases. This process appears to be primarily at the site of pathology rather than nearby unaffected bone.


Publication title

Arthritis Research and Therapy








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


BioMed Central

Place of publication

United Kingdom

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© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) International License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

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  • Open

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Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions

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