Pathology dictionary

Paneth cell metaplasia

paneth cell metaplasia

What is Paneth cell metaplasia?

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.

What causes Paneth cell metaplasia?

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.

Other signs of chronic inflammation in the colon are crypt distortion and basal lymphoplamacytosis. Pathologists describe this group of changes as chronic colitis.

Conditions associated with Paneth cell metaplasia

This change is frequently seen in inflammatory bowel disease. Types of inflammatory bowel disease include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

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