Objectives To investigate the association between markers of atherosclerosis and the presence and progression of knee OA in a population-based cohort study.
Methods The study was performed within the framework of the prospective Rotterdam Study. Markers of atherosclerosis included coronary artery calcification (CAC) and plasma levels of CD40L, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and VEGF. CAC data were available for 1669 participants, and CD40L, VCAM-1 and VEGF data for 975. Radiographs of the knee were scored with the Kellgren and Lawrence score for OA at baseline and follow-up [average follow-up time 4.5 years (S.D. 0.5)]. We used multivariate logistic regression models with generalized estimated equations to calculate odds ratios (95% CIs) for the association of atherosclerosis markers with prevalence and progression of knee OA.
Results The mean age was 73.1 (S.D. 7.5) years. Within the study population, 18% had radiographic knee OA (11% of men and 23% of women). CAC and VEGF were not associated with prevalent knee OA. Only among women, CD40L [adjusted odds ratio 1.3 (1.1, 1.6)] and VCAM-1 [adjusted odds ratio 1.3 (1.1, 1.6)] were associated with prevalent knee OA. No associations with progression were found in women. In men, too few progressors were available to assess associations.
Conclusion In this population-based study, CAC and VEGF were not associated with the presence or progression of knee OA. Only among women, plasma levels of CD40L and VCAM-1 were higher in individuals with knee OA compared with those without knee OA. This might suggest an association between atherosclerosis and knee OA through low-grade systemic inflammation in women.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Atherosclerosis, Knee, Longitudinal, Markers, Osteoarthritis
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kev106, hdl.handle.net/1765/91828
Journal Rheumatology (United Kingdom)
Hoeven, T.A, Kavousi, M, Ikram, M.A, van Meurs, J.B.J, Bindels, P.J.E, Hofman, A, … Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M. (2016). Markers of atherosclerosis in relation to presence and progression of knee osteoarthritis: A population-based cohort study. Rheumatology (United Kingdom), 54(9), 1692–1698. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kev106