Relationship between cartilage glycosaminoglycan content (assessed with dGEMRIC) and OA risk factors in meniscectomized patients

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2009 May;17(5):565-70. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.10.009. Epub 2008 Oct 29.


Objective: To study the relationship between cartilage integrity, assessed with [delayed Gadolinium-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Cartilage (dGEMRIC)] and epidemiologic risk factors for knee osteoarthritis (OA) in meniscectomized patients.

Methods: Body mass index (BMI) was calculated in 45 patients (16 women), mean age 46, who underwent an arthroscopic medial meniscectomy 1-6 years earlier. The cartilage glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content was estimated by dGEMRIC Index and tests of isokinetic muscle strength and functional performance (one-leg hop test) were conducted.

Results: BMI ranged from 20.0 to 34.3 (mean: 26.5). The dGEMRIC Index was 14.4% lower in the medial index compartment (374+/-61 ms, mean+/-SD) than in the lateral reference compartment (437+/-59 ms, mean+/-SD) (P<0.001). The dGEMRIC Index of the medial diseased compartment correlated positively with both knee flexor (r=0.50, P=0.001) and knee extensor strength (r=0.47, P=0.001) relative to body weight and with the one-leg hop test (r=0.42, P=0.004). Furthermore, a negative correlation was found between the dGEMRIC Index of the medial compartment and BMI (r=-0.35, P=0.019). No significant correlations were found in the lateral reference compartment.

Conclusion: The lower dGEMRIC Index of the medial compartment suggests decreased cartilage GAG content after medial meniscectomy, indicating an early stage OA. Furthermore, results suggest that overweight is a factor that deteriorates cartilage, whereas strong and co-ordinated thigh muscles may have a protective effect on the cartilage integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology
  • Contrast Media*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiopathology
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Risk Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium