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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Adiposity and hand osteoarthritis: the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study

A Willemien Visser1*, Andreea Ioan-Facsinay1, Renée de Mutsert2, Ralph L Widya3, Marieke Loef1, Albert de Roos3, Saskia le Cessie2, Martin den Heijer24, Frits R Rosendaal2, Margreet Kloppenburg12 and NEO Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology, C1-R, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands

2 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, C7-P, Leiden University Medical Center, Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands

3 Department of Radiology, C2-S, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands

4 Department of Endocrinology, Vrije Universiteit Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R19  doi:10.1186/ar4447

Published: 22 January 2014

Abstract

Introduction

Obesity, usually characterized by the body mass index (BMI), is a risk factor for hand osteoarthritis (OA). We investigated whether adipose tissue and abdominal fat distribution are associated with hand OA.

Methods

The Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study is a population-based cohort aged 45 to 65 years, including 5315 participants (53% women, median BMI 29.9 kg/m2). Fat percentage and fat mass (FM) (kg) were estimated using bioelectrical impedance analysis. The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was calculated. In 1721 participants, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) (cm2) were assessed using abdominal MR imaging. Hand OA was defined according to the ACR criteria.

Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for the association of fat percentage, FM, WHR, VAT and SAT with hand OA using logistic regression analyses per standard deviation, stratified by sex and adjusted for age.

Results

Hand OA was present in 8% of men and 20% of women. Fat percentage was associated with hand OA in men (OR 1.34 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.61)) and women (OR 1.26 (1.05 to 1.51)), as was FM. WHR was associated with hand OA in men (OR 1.45 (1.13 to 1.85)), and to a lesser extent in women (OR 1.17 (1.00 to 1.36)). Subgroup analysis revealed that VAT was associated with hand OA in men (OR1.33 (1.01 to 1.75)). This association increased after additional adjustment for FM (OR 1.51 (1.13 to 2.03)).

Conclusions

Fat percentage, FM and WHR were associated with hand OA. VAT was associated with hand OA in men, suggesting involvement of visceral fat in hand OA.