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Light micrograph of a biopsy section through the human cervix showing mild dysplasia (CIN 1). The cervix is lined by a stratified squamous epithelium. Normally, all cell division is confined to the basal epithelial layer (purple). As a cell matures & rises up the layers, its cytoplasm expands & nucleus shrinks in size - normal superficial cells are flat, with small nuclei & large cytoplasm. In mild dysplasia, the surface layers (top) are thinned but their cells are relatively normal. Underlying layers are thickened, cells having abnormally large & prominent nuclei. A spectrum of dysplastic changes precedes invasive cervical cancer.
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