Studies support vascular link to knee OA

The findings of two studies from Monash University support the existence of a vascular link to the development of knee OA.

The study of 142 middle aged women without clinically diagnosed knee OA found greater popliteal artery wall thickness was associated with an increased rate of cartilage volume loss over two years.

The findings were independent of age, BMI, physical activity, and other comorbidities, reported the researchers led by Flavia Ciccutini from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

“Targeting vascular pathology may provide a potential target for the prevention and early treatment of knee OA in women,” they wrote in Maturitas.

The mechanism underlying the association was not clear but may be mediated via the deleterious effect of vascular pathology on subchondral bone, they suggested.

But whether a causal relationship existed between popliteal artery wall thickness and knee structural changes needed to be confirmed in larger cohort studies and randomised controlled trials of statins, they added.

Meanwhile, in another study published in the same journal low-dose aspirin use was associated with reduced medial tibial cartilage loss over two years in people with knee osteoarthritis.

“The data is hypothesis generating but if confirmed, low dose aspirin could be used to reduce the progression of knee osteoarthritis,” concluded the study that was co-authored by Ms Ciccutini.

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