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Light micrograph of a longitudinal section through the normal human ectocervix, a stratified squamous epithelium that lines the vagina and the vaginal aspect of the cervix. In a normal stratified epithelium all cell division is confined to a single basal layer of densely-stained cells. As the cells mature their cytoplasm expands and they are pushed upwards to a higher level. At higher levels the cells undergo degenerative changes; the cytoplasm becomes progressively flattened until the cells are shed from the surface (top). Disruptive changes in this pattern (dysplasia) may lead to development of cancer of the cervix. Magnification: x100 at 35mm size.
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