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BACKGROUND: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA), even in non-weight bearing joints. High levels of adipose tissue-associated inflammation may explain this association. SOURCES OF DATA AND AREAS OF DEBATE: Published evidence looking at the associations between components of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) and knee, hip or hand OA and the higher mortality described with knee OA. EMERGING POINTS: Development of MetS and OA shares a relationship with adipose tissue-associated inflammation. This review supports this inflammatory pathway being part of the shared mechanism behind obesity as a risk factor for OA and the recently described OA-associated increased mortality. TIMELY AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT: In an era of an obesity epidemic, this review identifies a need for well-designed cohort studies assessing early metabolic changes in populations at high risk of OA and MetS, and to identify risk factors for increased mortality in patients with OA.

Original publication




Journal article


Br Med Bull

Publication Date





111 - 121


adipokines, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis, Adipokines, Animals, Humans, Inflammation, Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, Osteoarthritis, Risk Factors