Skip to main content
Log in

MRI of knee arthritis in rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthropathies

  • Originals
  • Published:
Rheumatology International Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The knees of fifty-two patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 22 patients with seronegative spondylarthopathies (SA) as well as of 20 healthy volunteers were examined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Osseous erosions (RA 52%-SA 18%; P<0.005), Baker cysts (RA 56%-SA 12%; P<0.005), pannus formation (RA 67%-SA 36%; P<0.05), and cartilage thinning with narrowing of the joint space (RA 46%-SA 18%; P<0.05) proved to be more frequent MRI findings in patients with RA. Additionally, in patients with RA erosions were more extensive. Follow-up MRI examinations of 19 patients revealed an improvment in MRI changes in SA within an average interval of 6 months. No substantial changes were noted in 7 of 13 RA patients. Quantitative and qualitative MRI findings of knee arthritis differ in patients with RA and SA and this was statistically significant. However, as there is considerable overlap of the MRI and radiographic changes in both groups the discriminating diagnostic value in the individual case was limited.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Beltran J, Caudill JL, Hermann LA, Kantor SM, Hudson PN, Noto AM, Baran AS (1987) Rheumathoid arthritis: MR imaging manifestations. Radiology 165:153–157

    Google Scholar 

  2. Senac MO Jr, Deutsch D, Bernstein BH, Stanley P, Crues JV III, Stoller DW, Mink J (1988) MR imaging in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. AJR 150:873–878

    Google Scholar 

  3. König H, Sieper J, Wolf K-J (1990) Rheumatoid arthritis: evaluation of hypervascular and fibrous pannus with dynamic MR-imaging enhanced with Gd-DTPA. Radiology 176:473–477

    Google Scholar 

  4. Yulish BS, Liebermann LM, Newman AJ, Bryan PJ, Mulopulos GP, Modic MT (1987) Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: assessment with MR imaging. Radiology 165:149–153

    Google Scholar 

  5. Arnett FC, Edworthy SM, Bloch A, McShane J, Fries JF, Cooper NS, Healey LA, Kaplan R, Liang MH, Luthra HS, Medsger TA Jr, Mitchell DM, Pinals RS, Schaller JG, Sharp T, Wilder L, Hunder GG (1988) The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 31:315–324

    Google Scholar 

  6. Tuomi T, Aho K, Palosuo T, Kareela K, Essen R von, Isomäki H, Leirisalo-Repo M, Sarna S (1988) Significance of rheumatoid factors in an eight-year longitudinal study on arthritis. Rheumatol Int 8:21–26

    Google Scholar 

  7. El-Khoury GY, Larson RK, Kathol MH, Berbaum K, Furst DE (1988) Seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis: radiographic differences. Radiology 168:517–520

    Google Scholar 

  8. Burns TM, Calin A (1983) The hand radiograph as a diagnostic discriminant between seropositive and seronegative “rheumatoid arthritis”: a controlled study. Ann Rheum Dis 42:605–612

    Google Scholar 

  9. Schwartz BD, Leuhrmann LK, Rodey GE et al (1979) Public antigen determinant on a family of HLA-B27 molecules: basis for cross-reactivity and a possible link with disease predisposition. J Clin Invest 64:938–943

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ebringer A, Shipley M (eds) (1983) Pathogenesis of HLA B27-associated diseases. Br J Rheumatol [Suppl 2]:1

  11. Edeiken J, Dalinka M, Karasick D (1990) Arthritides. In: Edeiken's roentgen diagnosis of bone. Williams and Wilkins Baltimore Hong Kong London Sydney, pp 681–742

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bland JH, Brown EW (1979) Seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis: a longitudinal study of newly diagnosed younger adult patients. Am J Med 66:377–384

    Google Scholar 

  13. Harris ED Jr (1990) Rheumatoid arthritis. Pathophysiology and implications for therapy. N Engl J Med 322:1277–1289

    Google Scholar 

  14. Sharp JT (1989) Radiologic assessment as an outcome measure in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 32:221–229

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Dedicated to Professor Dr. W. Wenz on his 65th birthday

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mundinger, A., Ioannidou, M., Meske, S. et al. MRI of knee arthritis in rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthropathies. Rheumatol Int 11, 183–186 (1991).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words