A preliminary study of ultrasound aspiration of bone erosion in early rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Apr;38(4):329-31. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/38.4.329.


Objective: To develop a new technique to assess the primary lesion in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Ten patients with early RA and radiographically or MRI confirmed erosions had a needle introduced into the base of the erosion under sonographic guidance. Material was then aspirated from this site.

Results: The procedure was well tolerated with no complications. Small samples of necrotic bone and tissue were obtained in five out of 10 cases. In one case, a distinctive population of pleomorphic CD34 + cells with characteristics of bone marrow progenitors was isolated. Tissue invading bone with a characteristic appearance of pannus was not seen.

Conclusion: A new method of sampling the earliest lesion in RA is described. The findings raise questions about the nature of bone damage in early RA.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD34 / analysis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / chemistry
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / chemistry
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / pathology*
  • Necrosis
  • Pilot Projects
  • Synovial Membrane / chemistry
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers