Risk of Incident Knee Osteoarthritis & Clinical Outcomes Based on Imaging Biomarkers

Biomarkers of Early Arthritis of the Knee (BEAK)
Principal Investigator: C. Kent Kwoh, MD
Funding: NIAMS, NIH R01AR066601

Osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis exemplified by deterioration of flexible protective tissue—cartilage—at the ends of bones, is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. Common symptoms include joint pain ranging from mild to severe. The pain may worsen as cartilage gradually erodes over time. Most often, this degenerative “wear-and-tear” disease affects people age 50 or older, but it can occur at younger ages. It’s estimated to afflict 27 million people in the United States alone. Medicine, physical therapy and surgery can help alieve pain and maintain joint movement.

The goal of the line of research in this project—which builds on prior work of the investigators and two other ongoing studies—is to identify key risk factors for development of osteoarthrtitis (OA) and OA structural disease progression, and to identify potential targets for preventative and/or therapeutic interventions.

Specific aims are to identify imaging biomarkers of the development of incident radiographic knee OA (ROA) earlier in the disease course, and to identify the association of imaging biomarkers with changes in pain, function and performance associated with the onset of ROA.

In addition to prior work, the project leverages leverage the wealth of longitudinal data, including high-resolution MRI imaging at 3 Tesla (3T) already accumulated in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). The proposed study builds on the strengths of the OAI and the Pivotal OAI MRI Analyses (POMA), an ancillary proposal to the OAI. The OAI is a longitudinal observational cohort study that enrolled 4,800 participants with or at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis at four clinical centers (i.e., University of Pittsburgh, Ohio State University, University of Maryland and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island). It was designed to identify biomarkers for the development and progression of knee OA. Through POMA, investigators have utilized the OAI MRIs to identify imaging biomarkers of knee OA development and progression up to 48 months prior to the onset of ROA.