Browse by author
Lookup NU author(s): Dr Angela Gernaey,
Professor David Minnikin,
Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.
Setting: The underlying trends in the past epidemiology of tuberculosis (TB) are obscure, requiring recourse to the archaeological record. It would therefore be of value to develop methods for reliable TB diagnosis in ancient populations. Objective: To test the capability of two biomarkers, Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex mycolic acids and a DNA target (IS6110), for confirming an osteological diagnosis of TB in medieval individuals, based on the presence of Pott's disease and/or rib lesions. Design: Osteological examination of three archaeological individuals (Medieval: ∼1000 years old) revealed a Pott's disease case, one with no changes consistent with TB and one with rib lesions. Rib samples from these individuals were examined for the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex mycolic acids and mycobacterial DNA. Results: Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex mycolic acids and the DNA target were detected in the Pott's disease case, whilst mycolic acids (insufficient for confirmation) alone were detected in the rib lesion case. Conclusions: Biomarkers provide a sensitive tool to detect ancient TB. Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA is not distributed homogeneously, making multiple sampling essential. Mycolic acids seem more reliable for ancient TB diagnosis than IS6110. The demonstrated stability of mycolic acids show that they may be of value in tracing the palaeoepidemiology of tuberculosis back into antiquity. © 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
Author(s): Gernaey AM, Minnikin DE, Copley MS, Dixon RA, Middleton JC, Roberts CA
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/01/2001
ISSN (print): 1472-9792
ISSN (electronic): 1873-281X
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
PubMed id: 11584593
Altmetrics provided by Altmetric