Objective: Distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint arthropathy is characteristic of both psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and osteoarthritis (OA), but the microanatomic basis for DIP joint localization is poorly understood. This study used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the basis for hand disease localization in both conditions.
Methods: Twenty patients matched for disease duration (10 with DIP joint PsA and 10 with DIP joint OA) and 10 normal control subjects were scanned with a 1.5T MRI scanner utilizing a high-resolution 23-mm diameter surface coil with displayed pixel dimensions of 80-100 mum. Images were obtained precontrast and postcontrast, and all joint structures, including ligaments, tendons, and entheses, were evaluated by 2 independent assessors.
Results: PsA could be distinguished from OA on the basis of more severe inflammation in the collateral ligaments and the extensor tendons and more severe changes at the corresponding DIP joint entheseal insertions. A much greater degree of extracapsular enhancement, with diffuse involvement of the nailbed and diffuse bone edema without cartilage damage, was also typical of PsA. Compared with the normal controls, the OA cohort exhibited prominent ligament and entheseal changes, but with much less contrast enhancement than in PsA and less bone involvement at the insertions.
Conclusion: These findings suggest prominent inflammatory changes in ligament, tendon, enthesis, and adjacent bone in the DIP joint disease of PsA patients. Involvement of the same structures is common in the DIP joints of OA patients, but inflammatory changes are much less marked. These findings are potentially important for a better understanding of arthritis in humans.