BACKGROUND: Specific serum biomarkers of cartilage metabolism such as cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP) and procollagen type II C-terminal propeptide (sPIICP) as well as hyaluronan (sHA), a biomarker of synovitis, have been implicated in the pathophysiology of knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, the associations of these biomarkers with the severity of the disease and OA risk factors, including age and obesity remain inconclusive. This analysis examines the associations between these serum biomarkers and the radiographic severity of OA and knee pain, as wells as obesity, the age and gender of the participants, and other OA risk factors. METHODS: From 44 patients with early knee OA and 130 patients with late knee OA we analyzed the radiographic severity of the disease using the Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) grading system. Moreover, 38 overweight healthy individuals were used as a control group. Specific information was collected from all participants during their recruitment. The levels of the three serum biomarkers were quantified using commercially available ELISA kits. Serum biomarkers were analyzed for associations with the average KL scores and pain in both knees, as well as with specific OA risk factors. RESULTS: The levels of sCOMP were elevated in patients with severe late OA and knee pain and correlated weakly with OA severity. A weakly correlation of sHA levels and OA severity OA was observed. We demonstrated that only sPIICP levels were markedly decreased in patients with late knee OA suggesting the alterations of cartilage metabolism in this arthritic disease. Moreover, we found that sPIICP has the strongest correlation with obesity and the severity of OA, as well as with the knee pain at rest and during walking regardless of the severity of the disease. ROC analysis showed that the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.980 (95% CI: 0.945-0.995; p < 0.0001), suggesting high diagnostic accuracy of sPIICP. Interestingly, gender and age had also an effect on the levels of sPIICP. CONCLUSION: This study revealed the potential of serum PIICP to be used as a biomarker to monitor the progression of knee OA, however, further studies are warranted to elucidate its clinical implication.
- Knee osteoarthritis
- OA risk factors, obesity