Objectives: Individual metabolic characteristics and age-related changes may affect osteoarthritis (OA) risk as well as levels of potential OA biomarkers such as serum cartilage oligomeric protein (sCOMP) and urinary cross-linked C-telopeptide of type 2 collagen (uCTX2). We investigated hand OA and these putative OA biomarker characteristics at different ages in individuals with a propensity for healthy ageing, in controls, and in patients with OA.
Methods: We investigated hand radiological OA (ROA) and levels of sCOMP and uCTX2 in the Leiden Longevity Study, which consisted of the middle-aged offspring of long-lived sibling pairs as metabolically healthy agers and their partners as controls, and for ROA we compared patients with OA at multiple joint sites from the Genetics, osteoARthritis and Progression Study with the healthy agers and controls.
Results: Hand ROA mean scores were lower in the healthy agers than in controls. Lower hand ROA scores at higher ages were observed in healthy agers with low glucose levels. Furthermore, in healthy agers, a higher mean sCOMP level was observed than in controls. All study groups had higher sCOMP levels at higher chronological age. Likewise, uCTX2 levels were higher at higher chronological age in the controls and patients with OA, which was not observed in the healthy agers.
Conclusions: Metabolic health in middle age is associated with less ROA and influences putative OA marker profiles, independently of chronological age. When used as OA biomarkers, it is relevant that independently of hand ROA status, uCTX2 is influenced by healthy metabolism and sCOMP is higher at higher chronological age.