Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cell classification: Parabasal cells of the vaginal epithelium

(until I get my graphics problem resolved, I'm just going to link to some generic images on the web for the sake of illustrating the point.)

Cell comparison 1: Immature vs. more mature cells

Parabasal cells (parabasals) are the youngest cells in the estrous (maturation) cycle. The distinctive attributes of the parabasal cell are:

  • their shape is round or oval;

  • they have large nuclei in relation to their cytoplasm (high nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio);

  • their cytoplasm is thick;

  • they generally take a dark stain (their color is highly saturated).

The examples of parabasals in this image from Loyola University Chicago demonstrate all of these attributes.

They are rounder than the more mature cells which will be shown in the upcoming posts. Their nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio is greater, and their color is darker than in the examples of mature cells. In these characteristics, the human parabasal resembles that of other mammals, such as the dog and the cat.


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