OBJECTIVE: This study explored posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) synovio-entheseal complex (SEC) microanatomy to determine whether it may participate in the early osteoarthritis (OA) disease process. METHODS: SEC microanatomy and OA features were evaluated in 14 non-arthritic cadaveric knees (mean age = 69.9) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histology. MRI images of 49 subjects selected from the progression cohort of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) were evaluated by a musculoskeletal radiologist using an original semi-quantitative method for features associated with OA at the PCL tibial enthesis. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to evaluate associations between SEC configuration and OA features. RESULTS: The PCL formed a SEC-like structure encompassing bone- and ligament-lining intra-articular cartilages to which the posterior root of the medial meniscus contributed. Degenerative features at the PCL-SEC included: neovascularisation (44%), enthesis chondrocyte clustering (44%), collagen matrix fissuring at the enthesis (56%) and in the PCL itself (67%), tidemark duplication (44%), bone remodelling (44%) and microscopic inflammatory changes (33%). In the OAI cohort, SEC-related pathology included bone marrow lesions (BMLs) (69%) and osteophytosis (94%) at locations that corresponded to SEC-related cartilages. Posterior joint recess effusion (49%) was linked to MRI abnormalities at PCL-SEC cartilages (χ2 = 7.27, P = 0.007). CONCLUSIONS: The PCL has a prominent SEC configuration that is associated with microscopic OA changes in aged clinically non-diseased joints. MRI determined knee OA commonly exhibited pathological features at this site which was associated with adjacent joint effusion. Thus, the PCL-SEC could play a hitherto unappreciated role in the early OA disease process.
|Number of pages||1302|
|Journal||Osteoarthritis and cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society|
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2014|
- Knee OA