A case of Langerhans cell hitiocytosis in an infant of a late Roman cemetery

A. Zink, A. G. Nerlich


In this report, we describe the findings in an infantile skeleton from a late Roman cemetery from Neuburg/Donau (ca. 300-400 AD), which presented with multiple osteolyses of the skull, the right femur and the Os ilium. Despite post-mortal alterations, the lesions showed some vital reaction so that merely an artifact could be excluded. Due to the lesion distribution, the individual's age and the lesion morphology, we provide clear evidence that this case suffered from Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a tumor-like lesion of bone of yet unknown cause which, however, is assumed to be linked to dysfunction of the immune system. Since our individual presented with multiple osseous lesions and obviously died in infancy, we suppose that the dysfunction of the immune system may have been associated with the premature death of this individual.

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