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Front Immunol


Spine and Sacroiliac Joints Lesions on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Early Axial-Spondyloarthritis During 24-Months Follow-Up (Italian Arm of SPACE Study).


Lorenzin M, Ortolan A, Felicetti M, Vio S, Favero M, Polito P, Lacognata C, Scapin V, Doria A, Ramonda R
Front Immunol. 2020; 11:936.
PMID: 32499784.


Our study aimed to identify: (1) the prevalence of spine and pelvis magnetic resonance imaging (MRI-spine and MRI-SIJ) inflammatory and structural lesions in patients (pts) with a diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA); (2) the predictive factors for a severe disease pattern with a higher probability of radiographic progression. Seventy-five pts with low back pain (LBP) (≥3 months, ≤2 years, onset ≤45 years) underwent physical examination, questionnaires, laboratory tests, X-rays, MRI-spine, and MRI-SIJ at baseline (T0) and during a 24-months follow-up. Two expert rheumatologists made axSpA diagnosis and classification (according ASAS criteria). MRI-spine, MRI-SIJ and X-rays were scored independently by 2 readers following the SPARCC, mSASSS, and mNY-criteria. According to ASAS criteria, 21 pts fulfilled imaging arm only and 29 clinical arm with/without imaging arm; 25 pts did not fulfill ASAS criteria. At T0 the mean ± SD LBP onset was 28.51 ± 8.05 years, 45.3% pts were male, 38.7% were HLA-B27+; 56% showed bone marrow oedema (BMO) at MRI-spine and 64% at MRI-SIJ. Signs of enthesitis were found in 58% pts in the thoracic spine. Eighteen (24%) pts presented BMO at MRI-spine with a negative MRI-SIJ. The prevalence of BMO lesions and the SPARCC SIJ and spine score decreased during the follow-up in the 2 cohorts meeting ASAS criteria. An early onset of LBP, a lower use of NSAIDs, a BASDAI>4 were identified as predictors of spine structural damage; the high SPARCC SIJ score appeared to be a predictor of SIJ structural damage. A higher mSASSS was predicted by a lower age of onset of LBP. Predictor of higher SPARCC spine was a higher NSAIDs and of higher SPARCC SIJ score the HLA-B27 positivity with increased inflammatory biomarkers. At T0 a significant prevalence of BMO lesions was observed both in SIJ and spine, with predominant involvement of thoracic district. Since positive MRI-spine images were observed in the absence of sacroiliitis, these findings seem to be relevant in the axSpA diagnosis. Early age of disease onset, long duration of LBP, increased inflammatory biomarkers, higher use of NSAIDs, male gender, HLA-B27 positivity, SPARCC SIJ score>2 appeared predictors of radiological damage and activity.