Factors associated with radiographic lesions in early axial spondyloarthritis. Results from the DESIR cohort

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Sep;52(9):1686-93. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket207. Epub 2013 Jun 13.


Objective: To assess whether factors such as inflammation by laboratory tests and MRI differ between early axial SpA with and without radiographic lesions.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from Devenir des Spondylarthropathies Indifferenciées Récentes (DESIR) cohort patients having recent-onset inflammatory back pain and meeting Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society criteria. The baseline evaluation included radiographs and MRI of the SI joints (SIJs) and spine. Patients were classified as having radiographic lesions if they had at least one obvious sacroiliitis, grade 2 for at least one vertebral corner or grade 1 for at least two vertebral corners (at the cervical or lumbar level, according to the modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score). Associations between baseline characteristics and the presence of radiographic lesions were evaluated by estimating multi-adjusted odd ratios (aORs) and their 95% CIs using a logistic regression model.

Results: Of 475 patients, 180 (37.9%) had radiographic lesions. Factors positively associated with radiographic lesions were alcohol use (aOR 2.42; 95% CI 1.31, 4.44; P = 0.005), CRP level (aOR 1.44; 95% CI 1.13, 1.84; P = 0.003) and SIJ inflammation by MRI (aOR 2.25; 95% CI 1.40, 3.60; P = 0.001); negative associations occurred with good NSAID responsiveness (aOR 0.44; 95% CI 0.24, 0.81; P = 0.008); spinal MRI inflammation was associated with radiographic lesions only in smokers (aOR 1.99; 95% CI 1.01, 3.92; P = 0.048).

Conclusion: Alcohol use, poor responsiveness to NSAIDs, CRP elevation, SIJ MRI inflammation and spinal MRI inflammation in smokers were independently associated with radiographic lesions in early axial SpA.

Keywords: MRI; axial spondylorarthritis; epidemiology; inflammation; radiographic lesions; spondyloarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Sacroiliac Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spine / pathology
  • Spondylarthritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spondylarthritis / drug therapy
  • Spondylarthritis / pathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal