Ventura L, Colimberti P, Leocata P, Ventura T, Diana M, Fornaciari G*

Department of Pathology, San Salvatore Hospital of L’Aquila and *Department of Oncology, Transplants and Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Division of Paleopathology, University of Pisa, Italy

Aims: The enlargement of the thyroid gland has attracted the attention of mankind since the dawn of civilization. Although goiter was well known by many ancient peoples, only few paleopathological cases have been reported in literature. Nowadays, goiter still represents a frequent finding in the inner Abruzzo region (Italy), which was always considered an endemic area. We report a case of multinodular goiter observed in a nineteenth century mummy from the friary of “San Giorgio degli Osservanti” in Goriano Valli (L’Aquila, central Italy).

Method: The mummified body of a 50-60 years old man presented at autopsy an evident swelling of thyroid gland. The specimen was rehydrated for 72 hours using Sandison’s solution, fixed in 10 % buffered formalin and embedded in paraffin to obtain 5 mm thick sections, stained with hematoxylin-eosin, PAS and Masson’s trichrome. One slide was immunostained with polyclonal antibody to human thyroglobulin (DBS, Pleasanton, CA) using LSAB peroxidase technique.

Results and Conclusions: Histological study revealed abundant fibrous tissue containing large number of round, colloid-filled follicles. Strong immunohistochemical reactivity for thyroglobulin was observed in the colloid. The different size of follicles, along with the areas of dense fibrosis and multifocal calcifications, led to the diagnosis of multinodular goiter.
Paleopathological literature shown six cases of well-mummified thyroid, with only one other published case of macronodular goiter in an eighteenth-century mummy.