A case of hyperostosis frontalis interna (HFI) in a medieval skeleton from lower Silesia (Poland)

D. Nowakowski, B. Kwiatkowska


Overgrowth of bone tissue (hyperostosis frontalis interna, or HFI) is symptomatic for the disease called Morgagni's syndrome. The pathogenesis of this rare disorder is unknwon, but it is possible that it is caused by the malfunctions in the pituitary gland. Paleopathological diagnoses of HFI are very rare but according to some authors HFI appeared in ancient human populations with a frequency ranging from 3 to 15%. Three cases have been described in Poland, one from the north-west and two from the south-east. In the present wotk we describe the first case from the region of Lower Silesia (south-west Poland). The skull of an adult female (dated from XVIIIth century) with pathological charecteristics specific for HFI was found in a churchyard (Saint Jakub church in Wroclaw). The diagnosis was established on the basis of clearly visible gross findings, including the overgrowth of the inner table, irregularities in the structure of the bone tissue (based on the X-ray analysis), and abnormalities in histological appearance. Our investigation add a new light to the small number of reports evaluating pathological changes in such precious, historical material.

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