CHAPTER 1
An Illustrated Glossary of Histological and Pathological Terms
5
Descriptive Terms for Abnormal Cells and Tissues
Acute Infl
ammation.
H&E,
3
388
Acute infl ammation
is an immediate response by the immune system due to
tissue injury from many causes including infection, necrosis, and trauma. It
results in a local increase in blood fl ow, tissue edema due to increased vascular
permeability, and an increased number of acute infl ammatory cells (chiefl
y
polymorphonuclear leukocytes or neutrophils). A confl
uent collection of
neutrophils is an
abscess
.
Image:
Acute appendicitis showing an inF ltration of neutrophils within layers
of smooth muscle in the appendiceal wall is shown.
Apoptosis.
H&E,
3
155
Apoptosis
is the process of cell death initiated by either physiologic or
pathologic
causes. Pathologic apoptosis may be seen in malignant neoplasms, cells damaged
by radiation or chemicals, tissues infected by viruses, and immunologic damage
as seen in graft-versus-host disease.
Image:
Colonic mucosa demonstrating marked apoptosis of the crypt
epithelial
cells is shown in a patient with graft-versus-host disease following a bone mar-
row
transplant.
Atrophy.
H&E,
3
99
Pathologic
atrophy
refers to a decrease in cell size as a result of various
factors
including denervation, decreased use, aging, decreased blood supply and
nutrients,
and pressure.
Image:
Skeletal muscle showing denervation atrophy is pictured here. Note the
larger, normal myocytes in the
right portion
of the image, and the smaller, atro-
phic myocytes in the
left portion
of the image. In this case, damage to a motor
neuron or axon caused atrophy of a group of muscle F
bers it served.
CalciF cation.
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3
199
Tissue
calciF cation
is abnormal and is broadly divided into
metastatic calciF
-
cation
and
dystrophic calciF cation
.
Metastatic calciF
cation
occurs in normal,
healthy tissues in patients who are hypercalcemic due to vitamin D intoxication,
renal failure, or increased parathyroid hormone or in patients with bone destruc-
tion.
Dystrophic calciF cation
occurs in dying or necrotic tissues in patients with
normal serum calcium.
Image:
Dystrophic calciF cation in an intraductal papilloma of the breast is
shown. Tissues that assume a papillary morphology tend to develop calciF
ca-
tions at the tips of degenerating papillae. Other examples include papillary thy-
roid carcinoma and serous papillary neoplasms of the ovaries. Round, lamellated
calciF cations are called
psammoma bodies
.
Chronic Infl
ammation.
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3
199
Chronic infl
ammation
is an ongoing infl ammatory process, typically weeks to
months in duration. It may be seen in infectious processes, like viral hepatitis,
autoimmune disease, and toxic exposures.
Acute
and
chronic infl
ammations
commonly coexist, as in active chronic gastritis due to infection of the gastric
mucosa by the bacteria
Helicobacter pylori
. The infl
ammatory cells participat-
ing in chronic infl ammation include lymphocytes, plasma cells, mast cells, and
eosinophils.
Image:
This stomach biopsy shows chronic gastritis; note the plasma cells within
the lamina propria. No neutrophils are seen, which would indicate a concomitant
active, acute infl
ammatory process.
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