Assessment of physiological disturbances during pre‐ and early postnatal development based on microscopic analysis of human deciduous teeth from the Late Epipaleolithic site of Shubayqa 1 (Jordan)

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To study pre‐ and early postnatal tooth formation and to analyze the effects of physiological disturbances on enamel and dentin formation in deciduous teeth of infants from the Late Epipaleolithic (Natufian) site Shubayqa 1.

Materials and methods
Ten deciduous teeth from six infants (ages at death between 21 and 239 days) were analyzed by light and scanning electron microscopy.

Marked prism cross‐striations and an abnormal wavy course of the prisms were recorded in pre‐ and postnatal enamel of all analyzed teeth. Single or multiple accentuated incremental lines were observed in prenatal enamel of nine teeth and in postnatal enamel of eight teeth. Accentuated Andresen lines and broader zones exhibiting an enhanced calcospheritic pattern were recorded in the pre‐ and postnatally formed dentin of nine teeth.

The structural abnormalities in the pre‐ and postnatally formed enamel of the infants are considered indicative of chronic stress that negatively affected the activity of secretory ameloblasts. The structural aberrations in pre‐ and postnatal dentin denote that odontoblasts were also affected by this stress. The presence of single or multiple accentuated incremental lines in pre‐ and postnatal enamel is interpreted as reflecting (short‐term) impacts of higher intensity superimposed on the chronic stress. Our findings suggest compromised maternal health affecting the late fetus and compromised health in newborns. Although limited by the small number of analyzed individuals, the present study contributes to the knowledge of maternal and early infant health conditions in Late Epipaleolithic populations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Pages (from-to)20
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 249474968