Publications by authors named "Vítězslav Kuželka"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Multiple occurrence of premature polyarticular osteoarthritis in an early medieval Bohemian cemetery (Prague, Czech Republic).

Int J Paleopathol 2020 09 14;30:35-46. Epub 2020 May 14.

CNRS, UMR 5199 PACEA, Université de Bordeaux, Bât. B8, Allée Geoffroy St Hilaire, CS 50023, 33615 Pessac Cedex, France; Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objectives: To highlight conditions that may cause early-onset degenerative joint disease, and to assess the possible impact of such diseases upon everyday life.

Material: Four adults aged under 50 years from a medieval skeletal collection of Prague (Czechia).

Methods: Visual, osteometric, X-ray, and histological examinations, stable isotope analysis of bone collagen.

Results: All four individuals showed multiple symmetrical degenerative changes, affecting the majority of joints of the postcranial skeleton. Associated dysplastic deformities were observed in all individuals, including bilateral hip dysplasia (n = 1), flattening of the femoral condyles (n = 3), and substantial deformation of the elbows (n = 3). The diet of the affected individuals differed from the contemporary population sample.

Conclusions: We propose the diagnosis of a mild form of skeletal dysplasia in these four individuals, with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia or type-II collagenopathy linked to premature osteoarthritis as the most probable causes.

Significance: Combining the skeletal findings with information from the medical literature, this paper defines several characteristic traits which may assist with the diagnosis of skeletal dysplasia in the archaeological record.

Limitations: As no genetic analysis was performed to confirm the possible kinship of the individuals, it is not possible to definitively assess whether the individuals suffered from the same hereditary condition or from different forms of skeletal dysplasia.

Suggestions For Further Research: Further studies on premature osteoarthritis in archaeological skeletal series are needed to correct the underrepresentation of these mild forms of dysplasia in past populations.
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September 2020

An isotopic case study of individuals with syphilis from the pathological-anatomical reference collection of the national museum in Prague (Czech Republic, 19th century A.D.).

Int J Paleopathol 2019 06 30;25:46-55. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské námĕstí 68, 11579, Praha 1, Czech Republic.

Objective: This paper aims at investigating the possible existence of isotopic offsets in δC and δN values in relation to tertiary syphilis.

Material: Based on materials from the 19th c. A.D. deriving from the pathological-anatomical reference collection (the Jedlička collection) of the National Museum in Prague (Czech Republic), a comparative approach of ten individuals with syphilis and nine without the disease was undertaken.

Methods: Bone powder samples were defatted according to the protocol of Liden et al. (1995). Bone collagen was extracted following the protocol of Bocherens et al. (1991).

Results: Our results show that individuals with syphilis have lower δC values than individuals without the disease; the observed difference between the two groups is about 0.3-0.4‰, which is relatively small but still meaningful. However, no difference between δN values of the two groups has been noticed.

Conclusions: Either diets prescribed by physicians to syphilitic patients or nutritional stress caused by cyclic appetite disturbance due to the disease itself or the administered medical treatment appeared to be possible explanations of the observed isotopic pattern. Overall, the response of the two isotopic proxies could argue for relatively limited nutritional restrictions.

Significance: This is the first study examining bone collagen isotopic response to syphilis based on clinically documented human skeletal materials.

Limitations: The sample sizes are relatively small and cautiousness must be taken regarding the interpretations of the data.

Suggestions For Further Research: Compound-specific stable isotope investigations and analysis of mercury content could be helpful to better understand the observed isotopic effects.
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June 2019

Characterization of Two Historic Smallpox Specimens from a Czech Museum.

Viruses 2017 07 27;9(8). Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstr. 11, 80937 Munich, Germany.

Although smallpox has been known for centuries, the oldest available variola virus strains were isolated in the early 1940s. At that time, large regions of the world were already smallpox-free. Therefore, genetic information of these strains can represent only the very last fraction of a long evolutionary process. Based on the genomes of 48 strains, two clades are differentiated: Clade 1 includes variants of variola major, and clade 2 includes West African and variola minor (Alastrim) strains. Recently, the genome of an almost 400-year-old Lithuanian mummy was determined, which fell basal to all currently sequenced strains of variola virus on phylogenetic trees. Here, we determined two complete variola virus genomes from human tissues kept in a museum in Prague dating back 60 and 160 years, respectively. Moreover, mass spectrometry-based proteomic, chemical, and microscopic examinations were performed. The 60-year-old specimen was most likely an importation from India, a country with endemic smallpox at that time. The genome of the 160-year-old specimen is related to clade 2 West African and variola minor strains. This sequence likely represents a new endemic European variant of variola virus circulating in the midst of the 19th century in Europe.
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July 2017