Association of body composition, physical activity and physical performance with knee cartilage thickness and bone area in young adults

Tao Meng, Benny Antony, Alison Venn, Felix Eckstein, Flavia Cicuttini, Lyn March, Marita Cross, Terence Dwyer, Leigh Blizzard, Graeme Jones, Laura L. Laslett, Changhai Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

To describe associations of body composition, physical activity and physical performance with knee cartilage thickness and subchondral bone area in young adults. Methods: Body composition, physical activity and physical performance were measured 4-5 years prior to knee MRI. Cartilage thickness and bone area were measured quantitatively from MRI. Associations were assessed using linear regression analysis, with mediators being identified using mediation analysis. Results: Participants (n = 186) were 31-41 years of age when the MRI was acquired and 48% were female. Greater lean mass was positively associated with cartilage thickness [β = 6.52 μm/kg (95% CI 0.86, 12.18)] and bone area [β = 13.37 mm2/kg (95% CI 5.43, 21.31)]. Physical performance measures were positively associated with cartilage thickness [long jump: β = 2.44 μm/cm (95% CI 0.70, 4.18); hand grip strength: 7.74 μm/kg (95% CI 1.50, 13.98); physical work capacity: 1.07 μm/W (95% CI 0.29, 1.85)] and bone area [long jump: β = 3.99 mm2/cm (95% CI 0.64, 7.34); hand grip strength: 19.06 mm2/kg (95% CI 7.21, 30.92); leg strength: 3.18 mm2/kg (95% CI 1.09, 5.28); physical work capacity: 3.15 mm2/W (95% CI 1.70, 4.60)]. Mediation analysis suggested these associations were mediated by lean mass (effect mediated: 27-95%). Conclusion: Greater lean mass and better physical performance measured 4-5 years prior were associated with greater knee cartilage thickness and subchondral bone area in young adults, and the associations of physical performance were largely mediated by lean mass. These findings suggest lean mass may play an important role in maintaining knee joint health in young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1616
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology
Volume59
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • cartilage
  • epidemiology
  • knee
  • MRI
  • osteoarthritis

Cite this