feathery degeneration

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feathery degeneration

A descriptive term for the changes in cytoplasm of hepatocytes caused by chronic cholestasis secondary to extrahepatic biliary destruction and in bile infarcts; the “feathers” correspond to phospholipids and bile acid crystals, which may be accompanied by an intracellular triad consisting of hydropic swelling, aggregation and reticulation of bile pigment and feathery cytoplasm, due to the toxic effect of bile salts.


deterioration; change from a higher to a lower form, especially change of tissue to a lower or less functionally active form. When there is chemical change of the tissue itself it is true degeneration; when the change consists in the deposit of abnormal matter in the tissues, it is infiltration. See also wallerian degeneration, Zenker's necrosis.

albuminoid degeneration
cloudy swelling, an early stage of degenerative change characterized by swollen, parboiled-appearing tissues which revert to normal when the cause is removed.
ballooning degeneration
swelling of the cytoplasm in epidermal cells without vacuolization, enlarged or condensed nuclei and acantholysis. A characteristic of viral infections of the skin. Called also koilocytosis.
caseous degeneration
colloid degeneration
degeneration with conversion of the tissues into a gelatinous or gumlike material.
cystic degeneration
degeneration with formation of cysts.
fatty degeneration
deposit of fat globules in a tissue.
feathery degeneration
said of hepatocytes; a hydropic change in hepatocytes which have suffered long-term exposure to cholestasis.
fibrinoid degeneration
deposition or replacement with eosinophilic fibrillar or granular substance resembling fibrin.
fibroid degeneration
degeneration into fibrous tissue.
hyaline degeneration
a regressive change in cells in which the cytoplasm takes on a homogeneous, glassy appearance; also used loosely to describe the histological appearance of tissues. Called also hyalinosis.
hydropic degeneration
see hydropic degeneration.
macular degeneration
degenerative changes in the macula retinae.
mucoid degeneration
degeneration with increased mucin which can be epithelial or mesenchymal in origin.
mucous degeneration
degeneration with accumulation of mucus in epithelial tissues. Called also myxomatous degeneration.
myxomatous degeneration
see mucous degeneration (above).
reticular degeneration
extreme intracellular edema of epidermal cells, resulting in rupture and multilocular intraepidermal vesicles with septae formed by the remaining cell walls. Seen in acute inflammatory dermatoses.
spongy degeneration
on microscopic examination has the physical appearance of a sponge. Usually applied to tissue of the central nervous system, caused by the loss of myelin.