Author(s): Jonsson H, Fisher DE, Eiriksdottir G, Aspelund T, Klein R, Gudnason V, Cotch MF. Hand and knee osteoarthritis are associated with reduced diameters in retinal vessels: the AGES-Reykjavik study. Rheumatol Int. 2019 Apr;39(4):669-677. doi: 10.1007/s00296-019-04243-6. Epub 2019 Jan 22. PMID 30671597
To investigate the association between osteoarthritis (OA) and microvascular pathology, we examined the relationship between retinal microvascular caliber and osteoarthritis of the hand and knee in an elderly population. The AGES-Reykjavik is a population-based, multidisciplinary longitudinal cohort study of aging. Retinal vessel caliber, hand osteoarthritis and total knee joint replacements due to OA were examined in 4757 individuals (mean age 76 ± 5 years; 57% female). Incident knee joint replacements during 5-year follow-up (n = 2961, mean age 75 ± 5 years; 58% female) were also assessed. Logistic regression analysis, adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index, showed an association between narrow arteriolar caliber and hand OA, as well as knee replacement. After adjustment for other covariates, including statin therapy, this association was significant for both hand OA in men and women [OR 1.10(1.03-1.17), p < 0.01] (per unit standard deviation decrease in CRAE) and TKR prevalence [OR 1.15 (1.01-1.32), p = 0.04], especially for men [OR 1.22 (1.00-1.51) p = 0.04] and also for incident TKRs in men [OR 1.50 (1.07-2.10), p = 0.04]. Narrow venular caliber was associated with hand OA in women [OR 1.10 (1.01-1.21), p = 0.03]. Retinal arterial narrowing in hand and knee OA is present in males as well as females. Venular narrowing in hand OA in women was an unexpected finding and is in contrast with the venular widening usually observed in cardiovascular diseases.