Joint blood flow is more sensitive to inflammatory arthritis than oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, and oxygen saturation
Biomedical Optics Express
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© 2016 Optical Society of America. Joint hypoxia plays a central role in the progression and perpetuation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Thus, optical techniques that can measure surrogate markers of hypoxia such as blood flow, oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, and oxygen saturation are being developed to monitor RA. The purpose of the current study was to compare the sensitivity of these physiological parameters to arthritis. Experiments were conducted in a rabbit model of RA and the results revealed that joint blood flow was the most sensitive to arthritis and could detect a statistically significant difference (p<0.05, power = 0.8) between inflamed and healthy joints with a sample size of only four subjects. Considering that this a quantitative technique, the high sensitivity to arthritis suggests that joint perfusion has the potential to become a potent tool for monitoring disease progression and treatment response in RA.