International Orthopaedics

, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 2577–2583 | Cite as

Adipokines correlate with pain in lower limb osteoarthritis: different associations in hip and knee

  • Sylvette Bas
  • Axel Finckh
  • Gabor J. Puskas
  • Domizio Suva
  • Pierre Hoffmeyer
  • Cem Gabay
  • Anne Lübbeke
Original Paper



Our aim was to investigate whether serum and synovial-fluid (SF) concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), leptin, adiponectin, resistin or visfatin are associated with joint pain in hip and knee in end-stage osteoarthritis (OA).


A cross-sectional study assessing patients with hip and knee OA undergoing total joint arthroplasty between January and December 2010 was conducted at a large university hospital. Serum and SF cytokine and adipokine concentrations were determined in samples obtained on the day of surgery. The main outcome was pain severity measured pre-operatively using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores.


A total of 206 patients were involved (112 with hip and 94 with knee OA). Median age was 72 years [interquartile range (IQR) 66–79], 59 % were women. All adipokine levels were significantly higher in the SF of hip joints than in that of knee joints, except for leptin, which tended to be higher in the knee. In both hip and knee OA, median serum concentrations of leptin, adiponectin, resistin and visfatin exceeded those in SF, whereas for IL-6, median concentrations were much higher in SF than in serum. In hip OA, worse pain was significantly associated with high SF concentrations of IL-6, visfatin and leptin; in knee OA, it was associated with high SF leptin and low SF adiponectin concentrations and a low adiponectin–leptin ratio.


Our findings support a connection between intra-articular concentrations of several adipokines and severity of preoperative OA pain. However, the specific adipokines differed by joints: in hip OA, pain was associated with IL-6 and visfatin and in knee OA with adiponectin; leptin played a role in both hip and knee OA.


Adipokine Osteoarthritis Pain Visfatin Leptin 



The authors express their deep appreciation to all orthopaedic surgeons, operating-room personnel and especially to Mme Carole Bandi and Mme Madeleine Vuillet for their efforts in data collection.


AL, SB, AF and CG participated in the study design. AL conducted the statistical analysis. SB, GJP, DS and PH participated in data collection. All authors participated in data interpretation and drafting of the manuscript.

Funding statement and competing interests

All authors have completed the Unified Competing Interest form at (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: Institutional financial support was obtained from the “Fondation pour la recherche ostéo-articulaire” and internal institutional funding from the Geneva University Hospitals was received for this study. The funding sources had no role in data collection, analysis or interpretation, in preparation of the manuscript or in its submission for publication. There were no other financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous 3 years and no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval for the study No CER 09–215 (09–072) was obtained from the Ethical Committee of the Geneva University Hospitals.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvette Bas
    • 1
  • Axel Finckh
    • 1
  • Gabor J. Puskas
    • 2
  • Domizio Suva
    • 2
  • Pierre Hoffmeyer
    • 2
  • Cem Gabay
    • 1
  • Anne Lübbeke
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of RheumatologyGeneva University Hospitals and University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Orthopaedic SurgeryGeneva University Hospitals and University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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