Levels of keratan sulfate in the serum and synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee

Arthritis Rheum. 1991 Oct;34(10):1254-9. doi: 10.1002/art.1780341008.


We examined the relationship between serum and synovial fluid (SF) levels of antigenic keratan sulfate (KS) and the clinical, laboratory, and radiologic features of disease in 125 well-characterized patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). KS was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, using an antibody specific for a highly sulfated epitope on KS chains; the results were calculated as equivalents of an international standard of KS from human costal cartilage. The mean level of serum KS (393 ng/ml) was significantly higher than those previously reported for populations of adults without OA. There was a wide scatter of serum KS values (range 156-912 ng/ml), with little correlation with clinical or radiologic features. Men had significantly higher levels than women (456 +/- 135 ng/ml versus 368 +/- 110 ng/ml, mean +/- SD), and there was a statistically significant but weak association with indicators of polyarticular involvement (number of symptomatic joints, Heberden's nodes, hip symptoms) in women. Despite the wide scatter of results in the population as a whole, individual levels of KS were stable for up to 4 consecutive years in the 9 patients studied. Levels of KS were much higher in SF (n = 25) than in serum, but the two were not correlated. There was an inverse correlation between radiographic evidence of cartilage loss and the level of KS in SF. The large variations in serum KS values suggest that this measure may not be of diagnostic significance among populations of patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Keratan Sulfate / analysis*
  • Knee Joint*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Sex Factors
  • Synovial Fluid / chemistry*


  • Keratan Sulfate