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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-61

Obesity and osteoarthritis of the knee joint: Is leptin the missing link?

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria
2 Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Obinna Henry Obiegbu
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joas.joas_30_19

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BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) involves a progressive degeneration of the articular cartilage, remodeling of the subchondral bone, and synovitis. It typically affects diarthrodial (synovial) joints including the knee joints. Obesity, which represents a body mass index (BMI) of ≥30, has been linked to OA of the knee joint. A biomechanical theory which infers that repetitive application of axial loading at the knee joint is the mechanism through which obesity causes OA has long been put forward. However, metabolic factors (adipokines) may yet be a link between OA and obesity. AIM AND OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to establish if there is a correlation between serum leptin and radiological severity of OA of the knee joint in obese individuals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a prospective study carried out after ethical clearance was obtained from the hospital's ethical committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all prospectively recruited participants. Patients who met the inclusion criteria were selected by random sampling into either the obese or nonobese group based on their BMI. The patients were radiographically evaluated, and data were collected using a well-designed and structured pro forma. 5 ml of blood was collected from each patient for the analysis of serum leptin level. RESULTS: A total of 100 patients were included into this study. Fifty of these patients were obese (BMI ≥30), whereas the other fifty were nonobese (BMI <30). The peak age of the occurrence of knee OA was 61–70 years. The mean serum leptin level in obese patients was 20.11 ng/ml, as opposed to that in nonobese patients of 4.88 ng/ml. The radiological severity was analyzed, and there was a positive correlation between serum leptin level and radiological severity in OA of the knee joint. A higher percentage of females in this study were obese (71%) as opposed to males (29%), and females had statistically significantly higher leptin levels when compared to males. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION: From the results of this study, it is concluded that there is a correlation between serum leptin levels and radiological severity of OA of the knee joint in obese patients.

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