Atrophy

Overview
  • Atrophy refers to a decrease in the physical size of cells. When atrophy occurs simultaneously in a population of adjacent cells this can lead to decreased tissue or organ size. In certain clinical settings, the word "Atrophy" is loosely used in reference to any decrease in tissue or organ size even if the decrease is due to reduction in cell number. Such usage is difficult to avoid since most cases reductions in cell size and number frequently occur together.
Causes
  • Atrophy can occur due to reduced functional demand or reduced nervous or hormonal stimulation of the tissue. Long-term declines in blood supply can also lead to atrophic regression of perfused tissues. Use the search function for specific examples.