Tibial coverage, meniscus position, size and damage in knees discordant for joint space narrowing - data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.30 January 2014
INTRODUCTION: Meniscal extrusion is thought to be associated with less meniscus coverage of the tibial surface, but the association of radiographic disease stage with quantitative measures of tibial plateau coverage is unknown. We therefore compared quantitative and semi-quantitative measures of meniscus position and morphology in individuals with bilateral painful knees discordant on medial joint space narrowing (mJSN). METHODS: A sample of 60 participants from the first half (2,678 cases) of the Osteoarthritis Initiative cohort fulfilled the inclusion criteria: bilateral frequent pain, Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) mJSN grades 1-3 in one, no-JSN in the contra-lateral (CL), and no lateral JSN in either knee (43 unilateral mJSN1; 17 mJSN2/3; 22 men, 38 women, body mass index (BMI) 31.3 + 3.9 kg/m(2)). Segmentation and three-dimensional quantitative analysis of the tibial plateau and meniscus, and semi-quantitative evaluation of meniscus damage (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) osteoarthritis knee score = MOAKS) was performed using coronal 3T MR images (MPR DESSwe and intermediate-weighted turbo spin echo (IW-TSE) images). CL knees were compared using paired t-tests (between-knee, within-person design). RESULTS: Medial tibial plateau coverage was 36 + 9% in mJSN1 vs 45 + 8% in CL no-JSN knees, and was 31 + 9% in mJSN2/3 vs 46 + 6% in no-JSN knees (both P < 0.001). mJSN knees showed greater meniscus extrusion and damage (MOAKS), but no significant difference in meniscus volume. No significant differences in lateral tibial coverage, lateral meniscus morphology or position were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Knees with medial JSN showed substantially less medial tibial plateau coverage by the meniscus. We suggest that the less meniscal coverage, i.e., less mechanical protection may be a reason for greater rates of cartilage loss observed in JSN knees. Copyright 2012 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. All rights reserved.