Racunica TLS, M.; Wluka, A. E.; Wang, Y.; English, D. R.; Giles, G. G.; O'Sullivan, R.; Cicuttini, F. M. (2007) A positive association of smoking and articular knee joint cartilage in healthy people. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 15:587-590
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether smoking affects knee cartilage in healthy adults by examining the association of tobacco use with tibial cartilage volume and tibiofemoral cartilage defects. METHODS: Two hundred and ninety-seven healthy adult subjects were recruited from an existing cohort examining healthy aging, the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS). Questionnaire data were obtained at recruitment to the MCCS in 1990-1994 and at magnetic resonance imaging to determine cartilage outcomes in 2003. RESULTS: Tibial cartilage volume was positively associated with subjects who ever smoked as well as pack-years smoked, suggesting a dose-response. There was no association between smoking and presence of tibiofemoral cartilage defects. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate that smoking is associated with increased tibial cartilage volume but not presence of tibiofemoral cartilage defects, providing further support for a beneficial effect on articular knee cartilage.