Stratified squamous epithelium of the ectocervix. The stratified squamous epithelium and underlying fibrous connective tissue within the lower rectangle in Figure 22.21 is shown here at higher magnification. The more mature epithelial cells have a clear cytoplasm (arrowheads), a reflection of their high glycogen content. Also, note the connective tissue papillae protruding into the epithelium (arrows). The bulk of the cervix is made up of dense, fibrous connective tissue with relatively little smooth muscle. X120.
mation zone resides in the cervical canal (Fig. 22.23). Metaplastic changes in this transition zone constitute precancerous lesions of the cervix. The cervical epithelial cells are constantly exfoliated into the vagina. Stained preparations of the cervical cells (Papanicolaou [Pap] smears) are used routinely for screening and diagnosis of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix.
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