Osteological and Biomolecular Evidence of a 7000-Year Old Case of Hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteopathy Secondary to Tuberculosis from Neolithic Hungary

Muriel Masson, Erika Molnár, Helen D. Donoghue, Gurdyal S. Besra, David E. Minnikin, Houdini H. T. Wu, Oona Y-C. Lee, Ian D Bull, György Pálfi

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Abstract

Seventy-one individuals from the late Neolithic population of the 7000-year-old site of Hódmezővásárhely-Gorzsa were examined for their skeletal palaeopathology. This revealed numerous cases of infections and non-specific stress indicators in juveniles and adults, metabolic diseases in juveniles, and evidence of trauma and mechanical changes in adults. Several cases showed potential signs of tuberculosis, particularly the remains of the individual HGO-53. This is an important finding that has significant implications for our understanding of this community. The aim of the present study was to seek biomolecular evidence to confirm this diagnosis. HGO-53 was a young male with a striking case of hypertrophic pulmonary osteopathy (HPO), revealing rib changes and cavitations in the vertebral bodies. The initial macroscopic diagnosis of HPO secondary to tuberculosis was confirmed by analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex specific cell wall lipid biomarkers and corroborated by ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis. This case is the earliest known classical case of HPO on an adult human skeleton and is one of the oldest palaeopathological and palaeomicrobiological tuberculosis cases to date.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78252
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2013

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    Masson, M., Molnár, E., Donoghue, H. D., Besra, G. S., Minnikin, D. E., Wu, H. H. T., Lee, O. Y-C., Bull, I. D., & Pálfi, G. (2013). Osteological and Biomolecular Evidence of a 7000-Year Old Case of Hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteopathy Secondary to Tuberculosis from Neolithic Hungary. PLoS ONE, 8(10), [e78252]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078252