Effect of rheumatoid arthritis and age on metacarpal bone shaft geometry and density: A longitudinal pQCT study in postmenopausal women.

Aeberli, Daniel; Fankhauser, Niklaus; Zebaze, R; Bonel, Harald Marcel; Möller, Burkhard; Villiger, Peter (2019). Effect of rheumatoid arthritis and age on metacarpal bone shaft geometry and density: A longitudinal pQCT study in postmenopausal women. (In Press). Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism Elsevier 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2019.08.003

[img] Text
Effect_Bonel.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

OBJECTIVE This study aimed to elucidate the effects of changes in the geometry and density of the metacarpal bone of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS This prospective study included consecutive postmenopausal RA patients who met the American College of Rheumatology Criteria and healthy controls (HC). Peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans at 50% of the total metacarpal shaft (third metacarpal bone) were obtained at baseline and follow-ups. Use of bisphosphonates (BP), glucocorticoids (GC), biologics, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) was monitored (baseline to follow-up). Total cross-sectional area (CSA), cortical-transitional zone and compact zone CSA, cortical volumetric bone mineral density, and compact cortex porosity were measured. A linear mixed-effects model was used to determine significant differences in the rate of change in the RA and control groups and in RA patient subgroups. RESULTS Thirty-nine RA patients and 42 consecutive postmenopausal HC were followed for 63 months. RA and HC depicted a time-dependent increase of medullary CSA (+0.41 mm2/year, P < 0.0001), while total CSA remained stable (P = 0.2). RA status was associated with a loss of cortical bone mineral density (interaction: -3.08 mg/mm3; P = 0.014). In RA subgroup analysis, GC use ≥5 mg/day was positively correlated with a fourfold increase of medullary CSA (0.67 mm2/year P = 0.009), which resulted in a three- to fourfold loss of cortical density (-6.6 mg/mm3/year; P = 0.002) and cortical CSA (-0.57 mm2/year, P = 0.004). Patients with high disease activity and high GC dose at baseline demonstrated an increase in the total CSA (0.29 mm2/y; P = 0.049) and a loss of cortical BMD (-5.73 mg/mm3/y; P = 0.05) despite good clinical response. CONCLUSION Increase in medullary metacarpal CSA and thinning of the cortical CSA are physiological and time dependent. RA status is associated with loss in cortical density. Even upon biological therapy, low glucocorticoid dose affects metacarpal bone shaft geometry and density over time.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > CTU Bern
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Allergology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology

UniBE Contributor:

Aeberli, Daniel; Fankhauser, Niklaus; Bonel, Harald Marcel; Möller, Burkhard and Villiger, Peter


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Maria de Fatima Henriques Bernardo

Date Deposited:

04 Sep 2019 10:14

Last Modified:

07 Nov 2019 12:40

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Metacarpal Bone Geometry Rheumatoid Arthritis pQCT





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback