Metaplasia

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 18 Aug 2021

Metaplasia is a general pathology term that refers to the process when one cell type is replaced by another. It usually occurs in the context of a changed cellular environment to which the new cell type is better adapted 1.
Examples include 2-5:

While the metaplastic epithelium can be adaptive in the short term, it predisposes to dysplasia and malignant change with continued irritation. It can also result in reduced function of the normal epithelium, such as loss of cilia of the respiratory epithelium 1

Metaplasia occurs due to induction of an alternate differentiation pathway of stem cells. External stressors induce different gene expression promoting differentiation to a different cellular pathway 1

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: myositis ossificans
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  • Case 2: fatty nodal metaplasia
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