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Light micrograph of cells from a cervical smear showing severe dysplasia (CIN 3). The vaginal cervix is lined by a stratified squamous epithelium. Normally, all cell division (visible nuclear activity) is confined to the basal epithelial layer. As a cell matures & rises up the layers its cytoplasm expands & nucleus shrinks in size. The various degrees of dysplasia refer to a disruption of this pattern that begins with mild dysplasia (CIN 1) and culminates in carcinoma-in- situ (also CIN 3) that may progress to invasive cervical cancer. In this CIN 3 specimen, the blue- staining cells at centre right have large nuclei that almost fill the entire cell.
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