The purpose of this prospective study is to compare the Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI) between early rheumatoid arthritis (ERA) patients and healthy controls; and to assess the relationship between CVAI and the bone microstructure using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) in ERA patients. 104 female ERA and 100 age-, gender- and BMI-matched healthy controls were recruited for the comparison of CVAI. All ERA patients were prospectively followed for 1 year. HR-pQCT scan of the distal radius, tibia and second metacarpal head were performed at baseline and after one-year. ERA patients were divided into two sub-groups according to the median CVAI value (65.73) (low CVAI and high CVAI groups). CVAI in the ERA group was significantly higher than the controls group (p = 0.01). At baseline, the high CVAI group had a higher ESR level (p = 0.004) while the cortical volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) was lower (at both the distal radius and tibia, all p < 0.05) compared to the low CVAI group. Linear regression analysis revealed that a higher baseline CVAI was an independent predictor of a lower cortical vBMD at month 12 (distal radius: B = - 0.626, p = 0.022, 95%CI – 1.914  to  - 0.153; tibia: B = - 0.394, p = 0.003, 95%CI – 1.366 to - 0.290); and a greater reduction in trabecular vBMD (tibia: B = 0.444, p = 0.001, 95%CI 0.018-0.063; distal radius: B = 0.356, p = 0.008, 95%CI 0.403-0.063). In summary, CVAI is an independent predictor of trabecular bone loss in female patients with ERA, which may be augmented by a chronic inflammatory state in patients with visceral dysfunction of fat metabolism.Trial registration: no: NCT01768923, 16/01/2013.
© 2023. The Author(s).