Striking difference of periarticular bone density change in early psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis following anti-rheumatic treatment as measured by digital X-ray radiogrammetry

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Objectives. To examine changes in hand BMD as measured by digital X-ray radiogrammetry (DXR-BMD) in early PsA compared with RA patients prior to and 3 and 12 months after introducing an antirheumatic treatment. Further, to identify predictors for hand bone loss at the time of disease presentation.

Methods. Recent-onset, active, treatment-naïve patients were recruited. Clinical assessment, hand X-rays and DXR were obtained at 0, 3 and 12 months. Mean DXR-BMD for both hands and changes in DXR-BMD (mg/cm2/month) were compared between the two groups. We compared baseline disease characteristics of patients with normal hand DXR-BMD with those with bone loss. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of hand BMD loss.

Results. A total of 64 patients were included. Hand DXR-BMD decreased in RA throughout the study (P = 0.043). Changes in periarticular bone density over 12 months differed between PsA and RA (P = 0.001). Hand bone loss at 3 months was associated with elevated BMI [odds ratio (OR) = 3.59, P = 0.041] and heavier alcohol intake (OR = 1.13, P = 0.035). Diagnosis of RA (OR = 57.48, P = 0.008), heavier alcohol intake (OR = 1.27, P = 0.012) and higher swollen joint count (SJC28) (OR = 1.5, P = 0.036) were independent predictors for hand bone loss in the first year.

Conclusion. Following treatment, we found ongoing hand bone loss in RA and unchanged periarticular bone density in PsA, supporting the hypothesis that different pathomechanisms are involved in hand bone remodelling in PsA. Presence of RA, heavier alcohol intake and higher SJC were identified as independent predictors for hand bone loss over 1 year.

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