Type 2 diabetes patients have accelerated cartilage matrix degeneration compared to diabetes free controls: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2018 Jun;26(6):751-761. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2018.03.010. Epub 2018 Mar 29.


Purpose: Osteoarthritis (OA) and diabetes mellitus (DM) share common risk factors with a potential underlying relationship between both diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate the longitudinal effects of DM on cartilage deterioration over 24-months with MR-based T2 relaxation time measurements.

Methods: From the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) cohort 196 diabetics were matched in small sets for age, sex, BMI and Kellgren-Lawrence score with 196 non-diabetic controls. Knee cartilage semi-automatic segmentation was performed on 2D multi-slice multi-echo spin-echo sequences. Texture of cartilage T2 maps was obtained via grey level co-occurrence matrix analysis. Linear regression analysis was used to compare cross-sectional and changes in T2 and texture parameters between the groups.

Results: Both study groups were similar in age (63.3 vs 63.0 years, P = 0.70), BMI (30.9 vs 31.2 kg/m2, P = 0.52), sex (female 53.6% vs 54.1%, P = 0.92) and KL score distribution (P = 0.97). In diabetics, except for the patella, all compartments showed a significantly higher increase in mean T2 values when compared to non-diabetic controls. Global T2 values increased almost twice as much; 1.77ms vs 0.98ms (0.79ms [CI: 0.39,1.19]) (P < 0.001). Additionally, global T2 values showed a significantly higher increase in the bone layer (P = 0.006), and in a separate analysis of the texture parameters, diabetics also showed consistently higher texture values (P < 0.05), indicating a more disordered cartilage composition.

Conclusion: Cartilage T2 values in diabetics show a faster increase with a consistently more heterogeneous cartilage texture composition. DM seems to be a risk factor for developing early OA with an accelerated degeneration of the articular cartilage in the knee.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Cartilage imaging; Diabetes mellitus; Knee osteoarthritis; Magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Diabetes Complications / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies