High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) in the Investigation of Gout in Palaeopathology

David Swinson, John Snaith, J Buckberry, Megan Brickley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Gout is a disease caused by the abnormal accumulation of uric acid in the body, which can result in sodium urate crystals forming tophi at joints, with associated erosion of bone and cartilage Only two examples of tophi have been reported from archaeological individuals, and the diagnosis of gout based on dry bone manifestations can be difficult This paper presents preliminary results of a new technique to aid the diagnosis of gout in palaeopathology, namely high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) Five archaeological skeletons with suspected gout (diagnosed using visual and radiological analysis) and three controls were analysed Two of the gouty individuals had a white powder in their erosive lesions HPLC showed the presence of uric acid in bone in four of the five individuals with evidence of gouty arthritis and was negative for uric acid in bone from the three controls The white powder was also positive for uric acid With reliance on the presence of articular erosions, cases of gout will be missed in archaeological human bone HPLC measurement of uric acid could prove useful in the differential diagnosis of erosive arthropathy in archaeology It may also be useful in identifying individuals with an increased body pool of uric acid, linked to conditions included in the term 'metabolic syndrome' As a result, HPLC uric acid measurement also has the potential to provide additional information on health and lifestyle in past communities Copyright (C) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • HPLC
  • gout
  • Tubulin polymerization
  • Thiocolchicine
  • metabolic syndrome
  • Microtubule network
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • uric acid
  • Anticancer drugs
  • palaeopathology


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