Document Detail

Trace elements and the European skeleton through 5000 years.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15828200     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
For our research, one thousand forty-four samples were taken from the femurs of 522 skeletons from 25 sites in Europe from the Neolithic Age (4000-5000 B.C), from La T?ne Period, the Roman Era (500 B.C-400 A.D.), the Middle Ages and from contemporary cadavers. We found the following distribution of elements in the longitudional axis of long bones (the femurs and the tibias). The elements Zn, Fe, Ni, Cr, Pb, Mn, Co and Sn cumulated in the epiphysis. On the other hand, we found that Ca, Sr, Na and K prevailed in the central part of the diaphysis. In the central parts of the cross-section the highest concentration of the metal element Pb was in the external layer from the historical femurs. It was the same with cadavers of the recent population. A specific shift from Neolithic farming to agricultural intensification in the Roman Era was also apparent in the skeletons. Special sources of the above mentioned elements were found both in Celtic and Germanic tribes. Meat is the main source of zinc. Zinc is also important for the growth of the skeleton. When we investigated the development of the human skeleton during the last 5000 years we found the highest concetrations of Zn in communities with a good supply of animal food, whereas the lowest concentrations were paralleled with well-developed agriculturists. We assume the Neolithic gracilization, which is in the background for the increase of agricultural populations, is directly linked with the concentration of Zn and other elements essential for growth (Cu, Fe and others). The individuals most vulnerable to zinc deficiency include infants, adolescents during rapid growth phases and women during pregnancy and lactation. Trace elements in the bones of the La T?ne period designate two areas of Celtic diet patterns--a "French one" (Roulier, Mont Trote and Acy Romance) and a "Czech one" (Karlov, Radovesice and Jenis?v Ujezd). At Czech sites levels of zinc increased westward towards the Germanic region. Over the Germanic territory in the region of the Saala River there are similar supply trace element sources for bones of the Germanic tribes for a period of more than 1000 years. The dietary customs and environment that formed this development were preserved from 400 B.C. to the period of the Merovingians. A specific ratio of Zn and Sr can be found not only in men, but also in woman and children. At the beginning of our era lead emerged as a civilization element. This element influenced the diet until the 20th century. Since the beginning of the 20th century it occurs much less in the population. On the contrary, we have found significant presence of tin in human bones. Cadavers of the modem population indicate a high content of tin, considerably higher than those in the populations from the beginning of our era (as much as 40 microg.g(-1) bone).
C Smrcka; J Jambor
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Acta Universitatis Carolinae. Medica     Volume:  41     ISSN:  0001-7116     ISO Abbreviation:  Acta Univ Carol Med (Praha)     Publication Date:  2000  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-04-14     Completed Date:  2005-05-04     Revised Date:  2010-05-10    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985169R     Medline TA:  Acta Univ Carol Med (Praha)     Country:  Czech Republic    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  59-68     Citation Subset:  IM    
Center for Patients with Locomotor Defects, Prague.
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MeSH Terms
Bone and Bones / chemistry*
Diet* / trends
Strontium / analysis*
Zinc / analysis*
Reg. No./Substance:
7440-24-6/Strontium; 7440-66-6/Zinc

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