Open Access Research article

Dickkopf-1 (Dkk-1) in plasma and synovial fluid is inversely correlated with radiographic severity of knee osteoarthritis patients

Sittisak Honsawek1*, Aree Tanavalee2, Pongsak Yuktanandana2, Srihatach Ngarmukos2, Natthaphon Saetan1 and Saran Tantavisut2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

2 Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010, 11:257  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-257

Published: 10 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative joint disease causing pain, stiffness, reduced motion, swelling, crepitus, and disability. Dickkopf-1 (Dkk-1) is a critical mediator of osteoblastogenesis and regulates the joint remodeling. The aim of this study was to examine plasma and synovial fluid Dkk-1 levels of patients with primary knee OA and to investigate their relationship with disease severity.

Methods

Thirty-five patients aged 55-83 years with knee OA and 15 healthy individuals were recruited into this study. Disease severity was determined using weight-bearing anteroposterior radiographs of the affected knee. The radiological grading of OA in the knee was performed according to the Kellgren-Lawrence grading system. Dkk-1 levels in both plasma and synovial fluid were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results

The average concentration of circulating Dkk-1 in the knee OA patients was remarkably lower than that of healthy controls (396.0 ± 258.8, 95%CI 307.1-484.9 vs 2348.8 ± 2051.5, 95%CI 1164.3-3533.3 pg/ml, p < 0.0001). Dkk-1 levels in synovial fluid were significantly lower than in paired plasma samples (58.6 ± 31.8, 95%CI 47.7-69.6 vs 396.0 ± 258.8, 95%CI 307.1-484.9 pg/ml, p < 0.001). Furthermore, both plasma and synovial fluid Dkk-1 levels were inversely correlated with radiographic severity (r = -0.78, p < 0.001 and r = -0.42, p = 0.01, respectively). Plasma Dkk-1 levels were also significantly correlated with synovial fluid Dkk-1 levels (r = 0.72, p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Dkk-1 levels in plasma and synovial fluid are inversely related to the severity of joint damage in knee OA. Dkk-1 could serve as a biochemical marker for determining disease severity and might play a potential role in the pathogenesis of the degenerative process of OA.