Paneth cells are a normal part of your body. They are usually found in your small intestine and the right side of your colon. They make and release chemicals that help your body break down food. Paneth cell metaplasia means that a pathologist saw Paneth cells in a tissue sample from the left side of the colon.This change is abnormal and is considered a sign of long-term damage to the tissue on the inside of the colon.
This change is usually caused by chronic inflammation (long standing inflammation) in the colon. The inflammation damages the cells that are normally found in the colon. As the colon heals, Paneth cells start to replace the cells that were damaged.