Asymmetric midshaft femur remodeling in an adult male with left sided hip joint ankylosis, Metal Period Nagsabaran, Philippines

Justyna J. Miszkiewicz* (Corresponding Author), Claire Rider, Shimona Kealy, Christina Vrahnas, Natalie A. Sims, Jitraporn Vongsvivut, Mark J. Tobin, Mary Jane Louise A. Bolunia, Alexandra S. De Leon, Antonio L. Peñalosa, Pablo S. Pagulayan, Adan V. Soriano, Ruth Page, Marc Oxenham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: This study investigated microstructural changes of the right and left midshaft femur in an archaeological individual afflicted with left-sided hip joint ankylosis to assess whether increased cortical porosity was present as a result of leg disuse.
Materials: The individual is a middle-aged adult male excavated from the Metal Period (~2000 BP) Nagsabaran, Luzon Island, Philippines.
Methods: Following standard examination of femur gross anatomy and differential diagnosis of the hip joint fusion, ~1cm thick posterior midshaft femur sampled were removed for microstructural examination. Using static histomorphometry, bone multi-cellular unit activity from Haversian canal (vascular pore) density, area, and circularity was reconstructed. Spatial positioning of Haversian canals was mapped using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Phosphate, carbonate, and carbonate:phosphate ratios were obtained using synchrotron-sourced Fourier transform infrared (sFTIRM) microspectroscopy.
Results: The left femur had greater cortical pore density, with smaller and rounder vascular canals, in addition to lower matrix levels of phosphate and carbonate, when compared to the right femur.
Conclusions: Our data indicate compromised bone tissue in the left femur, and conform to expected bone functional adaptation paradigms of remodeling responses to pathological and biomechanical changes.
Significance: The preservation of this individual’s hip abnormality created a unique opportunity to evaluate intra-skeletal bone health asymmetry, which may help other researchers evaluate the presence of limb disuse in archaeological samples.
Limitations: A lack of lower limb data limits our interpretations to femur remodeling only.
Suggestions for Further Research: Future research efforts should aim to examine the presence of remodeling changes in all bones of the lower limb.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Paleopathology
Early online date30 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

This study is a result of a long-term collaboration between the National Museum of the Philippines and the Australian National University (ANU). Funding for this study was received from the Australian Research Council (DE190100068) and ANU CASS (microscopy equipment). ANU RSHA 2017 travel grant facilitated stay on-site at the ANSTO – Australian Synchrotron facility (Clayton, Victoria). The sFTIRM data were collected using the Infrared Microspectroscopy beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, part of ANSTO. Pau Basilia (Griffith University) assisted with English-Filipino translation of abstract. David McGregor offered continuous technical assistance on the project. We are indebted to Editor-in-Chief Anne L. Grauer for invaluable contributions to the presentation of this article; and thank Associate Editor, and two reviewers for constructive feedback on the study.


  • joint stiffness
  • histology
  • carbonate
  • phosphate
  • Joint stiffness
  • Phosphate
  • Carbonate
  • Histology


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