Characteristics of bone turnover markers in rapidly destructive coxopathy
To diagnose rapidly destructive coxopathy (RDC) in its early stages and understand the pathomechanism of associated joint destruction, ten cases of RDC were followed by periodic MRI from onset of the disease. In the initial stage (stage 1) of RDC, when radiographs revealed slight narrowing of the joint space, a small subchondral area of low signal intensity was observed on T(1)-weighted images (T1WI) and inhomogeneous high intensity was observed on T(2)-weighted images (T2WI) in the antero-lateral portion of the femoral head. When radiographs showed obliteration of the joint space (stage 2), MRI revealed a diffuse area of low intensity on TIWI and high intensity on T2WI in the proximal femur, including the femoral neck and head, suggesting extensive bone marrow edema. The femoral head and acetabulum were aggressively destroyed (stage 3) in all cases 3 to 6 months after the diffuse abnormal pattern was observed on MRI. MRI in stage 3 cases showed low intensity areas on both T1WI and T2WI. RDC did not show the band-like pattern of low intensity on T1WI and high intensity on T2WI that typify MRI findings in cases of osteonecrosis. When joint space narrowing is observed radiographically, the diffuse abnormal pattern of low intensity on T1WI and high intensity on T2WI induced by a subchondral small lesion might be an early sign of RDC.