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Difference Between Dysplasia and Metaplasia

dysplasiaDysplasia vs Metaplasia

Dysplasia comes from the root Greek term meaning ‘bad formation’. It is a pathological term used to refer to an irregularity that hinders cell maturation within a particular tissue; whereas Metaplasia derives from the original Greek term denoting ‘change in form’. It is the process of the reversible substitution of a distinct kind of cell with another mature cell of another differentiated kind.

Dysplasia in general comprises of the increased growth of immature cells with a simultaneous reduction in the growth of mature cells, their numbers and their site of growth. Dysplasia is the indication of a premature neo-plastic progression. It directly indicates a state when the cellular defect is constrained within the tissue origin, for instance in case of an in-situ neoplasm. On the other hand, the transformation from one cell type to another in Metaplasia is often the result of the initiation caused by an unusual stimulus. The original cells in this case are not strong enough to survive in a new environment comprising of unknown and abnormal stimuli.

Dysplasia basically comprises of four distinct stages of pathological change. These are, Anisocytosis or the growth of cells of disproportionate size, Poikilocytosis or the growth of unusually shaped cells, Hyperchromatism and lastly the presence of mitotic lumps of cells that continuously keep on dividing. Often in pathological tests, a condition of Dysplasia where the growth and differentiation of cells are delayed are compared with Metaplasia where a mature cell of a distinct kind is replaced by another mature cell of yet another distinguished type.

Dysplasia and Metaplasia are essentially two different conditions and not synonymous. Dysplasia is carcinogenic by nature. Unlike in Dysplasia, in case of Metaplasia if the stimulus responsible for the transformation is either done away with or removed, the tissues instantly get back to the normal course of growth and prototype of differentiation.

Dysplasia, or Cervical Dysplasia which is the most common form is often the result of cervical infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the particular virus that also causes other conditions like condyloma or genital warts. The virus is transmitted through sexual acts, during intercourse. Sexual activity with several partners heighten the chances that a woman will get infected with HPV. The virus infects the coating cells of the reproductive tract and the genitals in females. Whereas Metaplasia occurs when healthy cells face severe stress of a physiological and pathological kind. In such a condition the stressed cells start adapting to the changed situations with non-cancerous cellular growths.

Summary:

1. Dysplasia is a pathological term used to refer to an irregularity that hinders cell maturation within a particular tissue whereas Metaplasia is the process of the reversible substitution of a distinct kind of cell with another mature cell of the similar distinct kind.
2. Dysplasia is cancerous whereas Metaplasia is non-cancerous.
3. Metaplasia can be stopped by removing the abnormal stimulus, but Dysplasia is a non-reversible process.


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2 Comments

  1. Errata:

    There is an important typo in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph. The sentence reads “Metaplasia is carcinogenic by nature.” In this sentence “Metaplasia” should be replaced by “Dysplasia”.

    In case you doubt that this is an error, then see point two of the summary, which reads “2. Dysplasia is cancerous whereas Metaplasia is non-cancerous.”

  2. There is an error above:- Dysplasia (LGD) is pre-cancerous and is reversible
    Metaplasia is Non-Cancerous and is more easily reversible than LGD if the irritant cause is removed permanently

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