Do fatty lesions explain the effect of inflammation on new syndesmophytes in patients with radiographic axial spondyloarthritis? Results from the SIAS cohort and ASSERT trial

Rosalinde Stal, Sofia Ramiro, Desirée Van Der Heijde, Floris A. Van Gaalen, Xenofon Baraliakos, Pedro M. Machado, Manouk De Hooge, Rosaline Van Den Berg, Monique Reijnierse, Juergen Braun, Robert Landewé, Alexandre Sepriano

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Abstract

Objectives To determine how much of the effect of vertebral corner inflammation on development of syndesmophytes is explained by vertebral corner fat deposition. Methods Patients with radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (r-axSpA) from the SIAS (Sensitive Imaging in Ankylosing Spondylitis) cohort and ASSERT (Ankylosing Spondylitis Study for the Evaluation of Recombinant Infliximab Therapy) trial were assessed at T0, T1 (SIAS: 1 year; ASSERT: 24 weeks) and T2 (2 years). Syndesmophytes assessed in each vertebral corner by whole spine low-dose CT (SIAS) or spinal radiographs (ASSERT) at T0 and T2 were considered present if seen by two of two readers. Inflammation (T0) and fat deposition (T0 and T1) on MRI were present if seen by ≥2 of 3 readers (SIAS) or 2 of 2 readers (ASSERT). Vertebral corners showing fat deposition or a syndesmophyte at baseline were ignored. Mediation analysis was applied to determine what proportion of the total effect of inflammation on syndesmophyte formation could be explained via the path of intermediate fat deposition. Results Forty-nine SIAS patients (with 2667 vertebral corners) and 168 ASSERT patients (with 2918 vertebral corners) were analysed. The presence of inflammation at T0 increased the probability of a new syndesmophyte in the same vertebral corner at T2 by 9.3%. Of this total effect, 0.2% (2% (0.2 of 9.3) of the total effect) went via intermediate new fat deposition. In ASSERT, the total effect was 7.3%, of which 0.8% (10% of the total effect) went via new fat deposition. Conclusion In r-axSpA, vertebral corner inflammation may lead to syndesmophyte formation but in a minority of cases via visible fat deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003118
JournalRMD Open
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Inflammation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing

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