Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 2187–2193 | Cite as

The association between the Mediterranean diet and magnetic resonance parameters for knee osteoarthritis: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

  • Nicola VeroneseEmail author
  • Luciana La Tegola
  • Gaetano Crepaldi
  • Stefania Maggi
  • Domenico Rogoli
  • Giuseppe Guglielmi
Original Article


The Mediterranean diet appears to be beneficial for osteoarthritis (OA), but the few data available regarding the association between the diet and the condition are limited to X-ray and clinical findings. The current study aimed to investigate the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and knee cartilage morphology, assessed using magnetic resonance (MRI) in a cohort of North American participants. Seven hundred eighty-three participants in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (59.8% females; mean age 62.3 years) in possession of a MRI assessment (a coronal 3D FLASH with Water Excitation MR sequence of the right knee) were enrolled in our cross-sectional study. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was evaluated using a validated Mediterranean diet score (aMED). The strength of the association between aMED and knee MRI parameters was gauged using an adjusted linear regression analysis, expressed as standardized betas with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Using an adjusted linear regression analysis, each increase of one standard deviation (SD) in the aMED corresponded to a significant increase in the central medial femoral cartilage volume (beta = 0.12; 95%CI 0.09 to 0.15), in the mean central medial femoral cartilage thickness (beta = 0.13; 95%CI 0.01 to 0.17), in the cartilage thickness of the mean central medial tibiofemoral compartment (beta = 0.12; 95%CI 0.09 to 0.15), and in the cartilage volume of the medial tibiofemoral compartment (beta = 0.09; 95%CI 0.06 to 0.12). Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was found to be associated with a significant improvement in knee cartilage as assessed by MRI, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors.


Aged Healthy aging Knee osteoarthritis Lifestyle Mediterranean diet MRI 


Statement of authorship

Analysis and interpretation of data: Veronese, La Tegola. Draft of the article: La Tegola, Crepaldi. Critical revision for important intellectual content: Maggi, Guglielmi. Statistical analysis: Veronese. All authors approved the version submitted.

Funding source

The OAI is a public–private partnership comprised of five contracts (N01-AR-2-2258; N01-AR-2-2259; N01-AR-2-2260; N01-AR-2-2261; N01-AR-2-2262) funded by the National Institutes of Health, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, and conducted by the OAI Study Investigators. Private funding partners include Merck Research Laboratories; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline; and Pfizer, Inc. Private sector funding for the OAI is managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with ethical standards

The OAI study was granted full ethical approval by the institutional review board of the OAI Coordinating Center at University of California, San Francisco.




This manuscript was prepared using an OAI public use dataset and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the OAI investigators, the NIH, or the private funding partners. The sponsors had no role in the design, methods, subject recruitment, data collection, analysis, or preparation of this study.


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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research CouncilNeuroscience InstitutePadovaItaly
  2. 2.Ambulatory of Clinical NutritionNational Institute of Gastroenterology-Research Hospital, Saverio de BellisCastellana GrotteItaly
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyScientific Institute “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” HospitalFoggiaItaly

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