Bone diagenesis and its implication to disease diagnosis:

the relevance of microstructure analysis in past human remains.

Sandra Assis, Anne Keenleyside, Ana Luísa Santos, F. Alves Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When bone is exposed to the burial environment it may experience structural changes induced by
multiple agents. The study of postmortem alterations is important to differentiate decomposition phenomena
from normal physiological processes or pathological lesions, as well as to assess bone tissue quality. Microscopy is
of great utility to evaluate the integrity of bone microstructure and it provides significant data on long-term bone
decomposition. A total of 18 human bone sections (eight archeological and ten retrieved from an identified
skeletal collection) were selected for analysis under plane light and polarized light. The aim of this exploratory
study was to analyze the impact of diagenesis and taphonomy on the bone microstructure, as well as on the
differential diagnosis of pathological conditions. The results showed that the microscopy approach to bone tissues
contributed materially as an aid in the detailed description of the main diagenetic changes observed. It showed
that gross inspection does not provide a realistic assessment of bone tissue preservation, which can impact in the
characterization of lesions present and subsequent disease diagnosis. Therefore, researchers should continue to
consider the application of histological techniques if the aim is to comprehend tissue integrity and its association
with decomposition or disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-825
Number of pages20
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Bone and Bones
Microscopy
Tissue Preservation
Physiological Phenomena
Histological Techniques
Light
Burial
Body Remains
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • bone tissue preservation
  • burial environment
  • microscopy
  • paleopathology
  • taphonomy

Cite this

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title = "Bone diagenesis and its implication to disease diagnosis:: the relevance of microstructure analysis in past human remains.",
abstract = "When bone is exposed to the burial environment it may experience structural changes induced bymultiple agents. The study of postmortem alterations is important to differentiate decomposition phenomenafrom normal physiological processes or pathological lesions, as well as to assess bone tissue quality. Microscopy isof great utility to evaluate the integrity of bone microstructure and it provides significant data on long-term bonedecomposition. A total of 18 human bone sections (eight archeological and ten retrieved from an identifiedskeletal collection) were selected for analysis under plane light and polarized light. The aim of this exploratorystudy was to analyze the impact of diagenesis and taphonomy on the bone microstructure, as well as on thedifferential diagnosis of pathological conditions. The results showed that the microscopy approach to bone tissuescontributed materially as an aid in the detailed description of the main diagenetic changes observed. It showedthat gross inspection does not provide a realistic assessment of bone tissue preservation, which can impact in thecharacterization of lesions present and subsequent disease diagnosis. Therefore, researchers should continue toconsider the application of histological techniques if the aim is to comprehend tissue integrity and its associationwith decomposition or disease.",
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Bone diagenesis and its implication to disease diagnosis: the relevance of microstructure analysis in past human remains. / Assis, Sandra; Keenleyside, Anne; Santos, Ana Luísa; Alves Cardoso, F.

In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, Vol. 21, 2015, p. 805-825.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Bone diagenesis and its implication to disease diagnosis:

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AU - Assis, Sandra

AU - Keenleyside, Anne

AU - Santos, Ana Luísa

AU - Alves Cardoso, F.

PY - 2015

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AB - When bone is exposed to the burial environment it may experience structural changes induced bymultiple agents. The study of postmortem alterations is important to differentiate decomposition phenomenafrom normal physiological processes or pathological lesions, as well as to assess bone tissue quality. Microscopy isof great utility to evaluate the integrity of bone microstructure and it provides significant data on long-term bonedecomposition. A total of 18 human bone sections (eight archeological and ten retrieved from an identifiedskeletal collection) were selected for analysis under plane light and polarized light. The aim of this exploratorystudy was to analyze the impact of diagenesis and taphonomy on the bone microstructure, as well as on thedifferential diagnosis of pathological conditions. The results showed that the microscopy approach to bone tissuescontributed materially as an aid in the detailed description of the main diagenetic changes observed. It showedthat gross inspection does not provide a realistic assessment of bone tissue preservation, which can impact in thecharacterization of lesions present and subsequent disease diagnosis. Therefore, researchers should continue toconsider the application of histological techniques if the aim is to comprehend tissue integrity and its associationwith decomposition or disease.

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