Immunohistochemical detection of interstitial collagens in bone and cartilage tissue remnants in an infant Peruvian mummy

Andreas G. Nerlich, Franz Parsche, Thorsten Kirsch, Irmgard Wiest, Klaus Von Der Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the immunohistochemical presence of various collagen types in bone and cartilage tissue from an infant Peruvian mummy dating between 500 and 1000 A. D. which had been excavated at the necropolis of Las Trancas in the Nazca region in Peru. Following careful rehydration and decalcification of the tissue, the mummy tissue showed morphologically good preservation of the matrix, which could be shown to be composed of various collagen types in a typical pattern. Bone consisted of a collagen I matrix with a small rim of collagen III and V at the endosteal lining and a pericellular collagen V staining around osteocytic holes. In the hypertrophic cartilage of the epiphyseal growth plate, a typical pattern of collagen types II and X could be found. These observations provide evidence that in well‐preserved mummy tissue the antigenic determinants of major matrix components are still adequately preserved for an immunohistochemical analysis. This technique may thus be a very helpful tool for the analysis of pathologic processes of historic bone tissue. It may also allow in certain circumstances a distinction between pseudopathologic tissue destruction and pathologic tissue alteration. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1993


  • Collagen types
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mummy tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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