Limits...
A Systematic Approach to the Application of Soft Tissue Histopathology in Paleopathology.

Grove C, Peschel O, Nerlich AG - Biomed Res Int (2015)

Bottom Line: We established a reproducible histological ranking system for the evaluation of mummified tissue preservation.There are some organs with only poor conservation even in short term periods such as the kidneys and CNS.The identification of specific pathologies underlines the potential power of paleohistology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, 80336 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The application of histology to soft tissue remains offers an important technique to obtain diagnostically important information on various physiological and pathological conditions in paleopathology. In a series of 29 cases with mummified tissue ranging between 16 months and c. 5.200 years of postmortem time interval, we systematically investigated paleohistology and the preservation of various tissues. We established a reproducible histological ranking system for the evaluation of mummified tissue preservation. The application of this scheme to the series showed good tissue preservation of tissues with high connective tissue content but also fat tissue and connective tissue rich organs, such as lung tissue, while most other internal organs were less well preserved despite highly different postmortem time intervals. There are some organs with only poor conservation even in short term periods such as the kidneys and CNS. Artificial mummification does not provide better conservation than naturally mummified tissues; "cold" mummies may be much better conserved than those from desert areas. The identification of specific pathologies underlines the potential power of paleohistology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Ancient Egyptian mummy 23 (c. 2.900 yrs.) soft tissue histology. (a) Lung tissue sample showing a major blood vessel (upper part) and collapsed alveoli (lower part). Between the alveoli small deposits are seen that proved to be older bleeding residues due to a parasitic pulmonary infection. (b) Liver tissue from mummy 23 with excellently preserved portal fields (center) and the residues of the surrounding parenchyma (original magnification: (a) ×100, (b) ×200; (a) H&E; (b) van Gieson connective tissue stain).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection


getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4543791&req=5

fig5: Ancient Egyptian mummy 23 (c. 2.900 yrs.) soft tissue histology. (a) Lung tissue sample showing a major blood vessel (upper part) and collapsed alveoli (lower part). Between the alveoli small deposits are seen that proved to be older bleeding residues due to a parasitic pulmonary infection. (b) Liver tissue from mummy 23 with excellently preserved portal fields (center) and the residues of the surrounding parenchyma (original magnification: (a) ×100, (b) ×200; (a) H&E; (b) van Gieson connective tissue stain).

Mentions: Group II. These “cases” were significantly older than that of group I; however, in most cases the available samples were much more restricted due to conservatory reasons of the objects. From one young female mummy from South America, dating into the Nazca period between 1451 and 1642 AD [5], soft tissue samples were obtained from skin and the rectal wall. Additionally, three naturally mummified skulls from South American individuals were included dating to c. 350–500 AD [6] (Figure 4). Furthermore 7 human mummies came from ancient Egypt (c. 1900–700 BC) [7, 8] (Figures 5 and 6) and several soft tissue samples were available for this study from the Neolithic glacier mummy “Ötzi” (c. 3.200 BC) [9, 10] (Figure 7). In four of the ancient Egyptian cases we had been able to perform more extensive analyses, since several internal organs had been preserved as organ packages within the body cavities or in adjacent Canopic jars providing access to comparable tissue types than in group I (Figures 5 and 6). Detailed information on the material and the underlying cases is summarized in Table 1.


A Systematic Approach to the Application of Soft Tissue Histopathology in Paleopathology.

Grove C, Peschel O, Nerlich AG - Biomed Res Int (2015)

Ancient Egyptian mummy 23 (c. 2.900 yrs.) soft tissue histology. (a) Lung tissue sample showing a major blood vessel (upper part) and collapsed alveoli (lower part). Between the alveoli small deposits are seen that proved to be older bleeding residues due to a parasitic pulmonary infection. (b) Liver tissue from mummy 23 with excellently preserved portal fields (center) and the residues of the surrounding parenchyma (original magnification: (a) ×100, (b) ×200; (a) H&E; (b) van Gieson connective tissue stain).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4543791&req=5

fig5: Ancient Egyptian mummy 23 (c. 2.900 yrs.) soft tissue histology. (a) Lung tissue sample showing a major blood vessel (upper part) and collapsed alveoli (lower part). Between the alveoli small deposits are seen that proved to be older bleeding residues due to a parasitic pulmonary infection. (b) Liver tissue from mummy 23 with excellently preserved portal fields (center) and the residues of the surrounding parenchyma (original magnification: (a) ×100, (b) ×200; (a) H&E; (b) van Gieson connective tissue stain).
Mentions: Group II. These “cases” were significantly older than that of group I; however, in most cases the available samples were much more restricted due to conservatory reasons of the objects. From one young female mummy from South America, dating into the Nazca period between 1451 and 1642 AD [5], soft tissue samples were obtained from skin and the rectal wall. Additionally, three naturally mummified skulls from South American individuals were included dating to c. 350–500 AD [6] (Figure 4). Furthermore 7 human mummies came from ancient Egypt (c. 1900–700 BC) [7, 8] (Figures 5 and 6) and several soft tissue samples were available for this study from the Neolithic glacier mummy “Ötzi” (c. 3.200 BC) [9, 10] (Figure 7). In four of the ancient Egyptian cases we had been able to perform more extensive analyses, since several internal organs had been preserved as organ packages within the body cavities or in adjacent Canopic jars providing access to comparable tissue types than in group I (Figures 5 and 6). Detailed information on the material and the underlying cases is summarized in Table 1.

Bottom Line: We established a reproducible histological ranking system for the evaluation of mummified tissue preservation.There are some organs with only poor conservation even in short term periods such as the kidneys and CNS.The identification of specific pathologies underlines the potential power of paleohistology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Legal Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, 80336 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The application of histology to soft tissue remains offers an important technique to obtain diagnostically important information on various physiological and pathological conditions in paleopathology. In a series of 29 cases with mummified tissue ranging between 16 months and c. 5.200 years of postmortem time interval, we systematically investigated paleohistology and the preservation of various tissues. We established a reproducible histological ranking system for the evaluation of mummified tissue preservation. The application of this scheme to the series showed good tissue preservation of tissues with high connective tissue content but also fat tissue and connective tissue rich organs, such as lung tissue, while most other internal organs were less well preserved despite highly different postmortem time intervals. There are some organs with only poor conservation even in short term periods such as the kidneys and CNS. Artificial mummification does not provide better conservation than naturally mummified tissues; "cold" mummies may be much better conserved than those from desert areas. The identification of specific pathologies underlines the potential power of paleohistology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus