Cellular Pathology and Its Subdivisions


Cellular pathology is also known as anatomical pathology which is the branch of pathology that involves the study of body organs and groups of cells. Cellular pathology is a diagnostic service that appears in cells of the body from either tissues or fluids. It is the study of disease in organs, tissues and cells.

Cellular pathology is considered as one of the diagnostic branches of medicine along with radiology and other pathology specialties like microbiology, haematology, blood transfusion and biochemistry. Its roles include determining the cause of certain diseases and the effects that they are having on the body assisting with the choice of treatment that will be given and aiding in giving a prognosis and determining what may have caused a person’s death.


There are two main subdivisions within cellular pathology. The first is histopathology and the second is cytopathology.

Histopathology and cytopathology are key diagnostic tests in the initial detection and diagnosis of cancer and other diseases supported by modern molecular techniques.


This involves the examination of sampled whole tissues under the microscope. This is often aided by the use of special staining techniques and other associated tests. There are Special techniques in histopathology like Staining, Immunohistochemistry, Electron microscopy, Flow cytometry, Cytogenetics.

  • Staining is a technique used to enhance contrast in samples, generally at the microscopic level. Stains and dyes are frequently used in histology which is the study of tissue under the microscope and in the medical fields of histopathology, haematology, and cytopathology that focus on the study and diagnoses of disease at a microscopic level. Stains may be used to define biological tissues, classifying different blood cells, or organelles within individual cells.
  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a technique that permits the localization of antigens in tissue preparations and also allows morphologic evaluation by light microscopy. It is a valuable tool for the identification and visualization of tissue antigens in biological research and clinical diagnostics.
  • Electron microscopy (EM) is a technique for obtaining high resolution images of biological and non-biological specimens. It is used in biomedical research to investigate the detailed structure of tissues, cells, organelles and macromolecular complexes.
  • Flow cytometry (FC) is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles. It is routinely used in basic research, clinical practice, and clinical trials. A flow cytometry analyser is an instrument that provides quantifiable data from a sample
  • Cytogenetics is essentially a branch of genetics that studies the structure of DNA within the cell nucleus. This DNA is condensed during cell division and form chromosomes. The cytogenetic studies the number and morphology of chromosomes.


Cytopathology is frequently, less precisely, called cytology, which means the study of cells. It is the examination of single cells. A common cytology test is the cervical smear.

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Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology

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