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Osteological, biomolecular and geochemical examination of an Early Anglo-Saxon case of lepromatous leprosy

Osteological, biomolecular and geochemical examination of an Early Anglo-Saxon case of lepromatous leprosy
Osteological, biomolecular and geochemical examination of an Early Anglo-Saxon case of lepromatous leprosy
We have examined a 5th to 6th century inhumation from Great Chesterford, Essex, UK. The incomplete remains are those of a young male, aged around 21–35 years at death. The remains show osteological evidence of lepromatous leprosy (LL) and this was confirmed by lipid biomarker analysis and ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis, which provided evidence for both multi-copy and single copy loci from the Mycobacterium leprae genome. Genotyping showed the strain belonged to the 3I lineage, but the Great Chesterford isolate appeared to be ancestral to 3I strains found in later medieval cases in southern Britain and also continental Europe. While a number of contemporaneous cases exist, at present, this case of leprosy is the earliest radiocarbon dated case in Britain confirmed by both aDNA and lipid biomarkers. Importantly, Strontium and Oxygen isotope analysis suggest that the individual is likely to have originated from outside Britain. This potentially sheds light on the origins of the strain in Britain and its subsequent spread to other parts of the world, including the Americas where the 3I lineage of M. leprae is still found in some southern states of America.
bioarchaeologyleprosyhistorical archaeologypalaeopathologypaleopathologydisease
1932-6203
1-128
Inskip, Sarah A.
2064117b-c90f-421c-a948-ab2efded7dfe
Taylor, G. Michael
3541a2c8-3c00-4920-8c60-589101bf9178
Zakrzewski, Sonia R.
d80afd94-feff-4fe8-96e9-f3db79bba99d
Mays, S.
ca149e77-7af6-4ff9-aa0b-0861d288adf3
Pike, Alistair W.G.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Llewellyn, Gareth
1c877865-c665-4090-b371-3553cf7e14fe
Williams, Christopher M.
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Lee, Oona Y.-C.
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Wu, Houdini H.T.
d444e9dd-ede6-4bb0-bb5f-ce320b8639b4
Minnikin, David E.
e9199a08-ff43-46c1-9d34-e118ae43eef6
Besra, Gurdyal S.
b3523122-c452-4efc-b625-d80744586a47
Stewart, Graham R.
f030a7fe-01f0-4196-89e5-80b98518a72f
Inskip, Sarah A.
2064117b-c90f-421c-a948-ab2efded7dfe
Taylor, G. Michael
3541a2c8-3c00-4920-8c60-589101bf9178
Zakrzewski, Sonia R.
d80afd94-feff-4fe8-96e9-f3db79bba99d
Mays, S.
ca149e77-7af6-4ff9-aa0b-0861d288adf3
Pike, Alistair W.G.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Llewellyn, Gareth
1c877865-c665-4090-b371-3553cf7e14fe
Williams, Christopher M.
59b692dc-9c68-4d2b-ade6-197f1f3626b7
Lee, Oona Y.-C.
7e9200b2-2383-4714-b53e-6f72ac6a68d5
Wu, Houdini H.T.
d444e9dd-ede6-4bb0-bb5f-ce320b8639b4
Minnikin, David E.
e9199a08-ff43-46c1-9d34-e118ae43eef6
Besra, Gurdyal S.
b3523122-c452-4efc-b625-d80744586a47
Stewart, Graham R.
f030a7fe-01f0-4196-89e5-80b98518a72f

Inskip, Sarah A., Taylor, G. Michael, Zakrzewski, Sonia R., Mays, S., Pike, Alistair W.G., Llewellyn, Gareth, Williams, Christopher M., Lee, Oona Y.-C., Wu, Houdini H.T., Minnikin, David E., Besra, Gurdyal S. and Stewart, Graham R. (2015) Osteological, biomolecular and geochemical examination of an Early Anglo-Saxon case of lepromatous leprosy. PLoS ONE, 10 (5), 1-128. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124282).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We have examined a 5th to 6th century inhumation from Great Chesterford, Essex, UK. The incomplete remains are those of a young male, aged around 21–35 years at death. The remains show osteological evidence of lepromatous leprosy (LL) and this was confirmed by lipid biomarker analysis and ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis, which provided evidence for both multi-copy and single copy loci from the Mycobacterium leprae genome. Genotyping showed the strain belonged to the 3I lineage, but the Great Chesterford isolate appeared to be ancestral to 3I strains found in later medieval cases in southern Britain and also continental Europe. While a number of contemporaneous cases exist, at present, this case of leprosy is the earliest radiocarbon dated case in Britain confirmed by both aDNA and lipid biomarkers. Importantly, Strontium and Oxygen isotope analysis suggest that the individual is likely to have originated from outside Britain. This potentially sheds light on the origins of the strain in Britain and its subsequent spread to other parts of the world, including the Americas where the 3I lineage of M. leprae is still found in some southern states of America.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 March 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 May 2015
Published date: 13 May 2015
Keywords: bioarchaeologyleprosyhistorical archaeologypalaeopathologypaleopathologydisease
Organisations: Archaeology

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Local EPrints ID: 376486
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/376486
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 924d1256-bb2c-44a8-ba84-23a6289ede42
ORCID for Sonia R. Zakrzewski: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1796-065X
ORCID for Alistair W.G. Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

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Date deposited: 01 May 2015 07:32
Last modified: 25 Jul 2019 00:35

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Contributors

Author: Sarah A. Inskip
Author: G. Michael Taylor
Author: S. Mays
Author: Gareth Llewellyn
Author: Christopher M. Williams
Author: Oona Y.-C. Lee
Author: Houdini H.T. Wu
Author: David E. Minnikin
Author: Gurdyal S. Besra
Author: Graham R. Stewart

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