2 at any site), cartilage volume and thickness, and bone surface area and/or volume. These were determined at the patellar, medial, and lateral tibial and femoral sites using T1 weighted fat saturation MRI. Height, weight, and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) were measured by standard protocols.
Results: In multivariate analysis, age was significantly associated with knee cartilage defect scores (ß = +0.016 to +0.073/year, all p<0.01) and prevalence (OR = 1.05–1.10/year, all p<0.05) in all compartments. Additionally, age was negatively associated with knee cartilage thickness at all sites (ß = –0.013 to –0.035 mm/year, all p<0.05), and with patellar (ß = –11.5 µl/year, p<0.01) but not tibial cartilage volume. Lastly, age was significantly positively associated with medial and lateral tibial surface bone area (ß = +3.0 to +4.7 mm2/year, all p<0.05) and patellar bone volume (ß = +34.4 µl/year, p<0.05). Associations between age and tibiofemoral cartilage defect score, cartilage thickness, and bone size decreased in magnitude after adjustment for ROA, suggesting these changes are directly relevant to OA.
Conclusion: The most consistent knee structural changes with increasing age are increase in cartilage defect severity and prevalence, cartilage thinning, and increase in bone size with inconsistent change in cartilage volume. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine which of these changes are primary and confirm their relevance to knee OA.
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Figures and Tables
|Figure 1| Correlation between age and knee cartilage defects. There were significant positive associations between age and knee cartilage defect score in the medial and lateral tibiofemoral and patellar compartments. T, total sample; F, female subjects; (more ...)
Correlation between age and knee cartilage thickness. There were significant negative associations between age and knee cartilage thickness at all three sites. T, total sample; F, female subjects; M, male subjects.
|Figure 3| Correlation between age and knee cartilage volume. There were significant negative correlations between age and patellar cartilage volume in the total population and lateral cartilage volume in women only. T, total sample; F, female subjects; (more ...)
Correlation between age and knee bone size. There were no significant positive associations between age and knee bone size except that at the lateral tibial site in men. T, total sample; F, female subjects; M, male subjects.