Histology Glossary - C

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A Glossary of Histological and Micro-Anatomical Terms

Including historical origins and eponyms compiled by Dr Brian Freeman, Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, revised 2000.

Histology Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ANAT2241 Support | Histology | Histology Stains | Embryology Glossary


Abbreviations: ( ) plural form in brackets, A. Arabic, abb. abbreviation, c. circa =about, F. French adj. adjective, G. Greek, Ge. German, cf. compare, L. Latin, dim. diminutive, NA. Nomina anatomica, q.v. which see, OF. Old French


Cajal, Santiago Ramon y. 1852-1934. Anatomist at Valencia, histologist at Madrid; shared Nobel Prize in 1906 with Golgi,q.v. for comprehensive work on the histology of the nervous system using the Golgi impregnation technique. Santiago Ramón y Cajal


calcification L. calx = lime + facere = to make.


calcitonin calcium + L. tonus = a stretching, a strengthening; hormone of thyroid C-cells which elevates blood calcium levels.


Call–Exner body = small histologically eosinophilic fluid-filled spaces between granulosa cells. Named after Emma Louise Call (1847-1937), an American clinician, and Sigmund Exner (1846 – 1926) an Austrian physiologist. (More? Granulosa cell)


calculus (-i) L. = a little stone, a peeble (dim. L. calx = stone); applied to stones that form in gall bladder, kidney, ureter, salivary glands, pancreas, etc.


calix or calyx (-ices) G. kalyx = cup; applied to any cup-shaped structure.


calvaria L. calvus = bald; the vault of the skull.


Camper, Petrus. 1722-1789 Professor of Medicine, Anatomy, Surgery & Botany in Gronningen; C.'s fascia = superficial layer of superficial fascia of skin of abdomen (1801).


canaliculus (-i) L. = a small channel (L. canalis = a channel, a water-pipe; dim.L. canna = a reed).


cancellous adj. L. cancellus = lattice; of spongy bone with numerous interconnecting cavities.


canine L. canis = dog; tooth shaped like dog's fang; a unicuspid tooth.


canthus G. canthos = metal rim on a wooden wheel; later, the rim of the eyelids; the angle at either end (i.e., nasal = inner, and temporal = outer) of the slit between the eyelids.


capillary L. capillus = hair (from L. capitis pilus = hair of the head); a very narrow ("hair-like") blood vessel.


capillus L. = a hair (of scalp).


capsule L. capsula = a little box (dim. L. capsa = a box, from L. capio = I receive).


cardia G. kardia = heart; adj. cardiac; as a noun, cardia = entrance to stomach.


cardinal adj. L. cardo = a hinge; on which something important hinges; cardinal veins of embryo; cf. duct of Cuvier.


caries L. = decay; gradual decay of a tooth or bone.


carina L. = a keel; last ring of trachea has a keel-like projection in the fork between the bronchi.


carmine a red dye.


carneae L. carneus = fleshy; trabeculae carneae, q.v.


carotid G. karoein = to send to sleep, stupefy; compression of carotid arteries believed by Aristotle (c. 350 BC) to cause coma.


cartilage L. cartilago = gristle; adj. cartilaginous (Celsus, c. 10 AD).


caruncle L. caruncula = small fleshy mass (dim. L. caro = flesh); a small fleshy elevation of epithelium, e.g., lacrimal caruncle, q.v.; sublingual caruncle; urethral caruncle; accessory pancreatic caruncle of Santorini, q.v.


caveola (-ae) from L. cavus = a hollow; small, pinocytotic depressions in plasma membrane.


cavernous adj. L. cavernosus = containing hollow spaces.


cell L. cella = a small room.


celloidin synthetic embedding medium.


cementum L. = rough quarried stone; modified bone between dentine and periodontal ligament in the root of a tooth.


central artery a small artery (more often, an arteriole) in the white pulp of the spleen.


central canal a small canal in spinal cord filled with cerebrospinal fluid and lined by ependyma, q.v.


central nervous system brain and spinal cord; abb. CNS.


central vein smallest root of hepatic vein, located in centre of an hepatic lobule.


centriole G. kentron = a sharp point, centre + L. -olus = a dimuntive ending; minute organelle at cell centre, involved in mitosis.


centro-acinar cell cell with pale-staining cytoplasm at start of an intercalated duct in the pancreatic acinus.


centrosome G. kentron = a sharp point, centre + soma = body; pair of centrioles in centre zone of a cell soma.


cephalic G. kephale = head, from A. al-kifal ; of vein in arm from which blood-letting was thought to reduce headache.


cerebellum L. = little brain (dim. of L. cerebrum = brain); largest part of hind-brain.


cerebral cortex L. cerebrum = brain + cortex = rind; the grey matter of the forebrain.


cerumen L. cera = wax; sebaceous secretion of ear canal.


cervix (-ices) L. = the neck (of an organ); e.g., cervix uteri = neck of uterus.


chelation G. chele = a claw; binding of metal ions by heterocyclic ring compounds.


chief cells main cells; of the stomach, those producing pepsinogen, q.v.; of the parathyroid; those producing parathormone.


cholecystokinin G. chole = bile + kystis = bladder + kinein ,= to move; gut hormone stimulating movement of bile from gall bladdder, and exocrine pancreas activity.


choledochus G. chole = bile + dochos = receptacle; the bile duct (melancholy = black bile).


chondroblast G. chondros = cartilage + blastos = germ; immature cartilage cell.


chondrocyte G. " + kytos = hollow vessel, monk's cell; mature cartilage cell.


chorion G. = skin, leather; outer membrane of the conceptus, forming chorionic villi (Galen, c. 180 AD).


choroid or choroidea G. " + -oeides = similar to; skin-like; brown vascular part of eye coat (like a shell of a peeled grape); part of uvea, q.v.; Haller's layer.


choroid plexus G. " + L. plexus = woven; a network of blood vessels derived from pia mater and covered by ependymal cells, projecting into ventricles of brain (similar in appearance to the chorion).


chromaffin G. chroma = colour + L. affinis = with affinity for; stained with chromium salts; epinephrine-producing cells; para-aortic bodies of Zuckerkandl.


chromatin G. chroma = colour; material in cell nucleus staining strongly with basic dyes.


chromatolysis G. " + lysis = a lessening; loss of stainable Nissl substance in injured neuronal somas.


chromatophore G. " + phorous = bearing; pigment-containing cell.


chromophil G. " + philein = to love; cells or granules taking up dye readily.


chromophobe G. " + phobos = fear; cells or granules not taking up any dye readily.


chromosome G " + soma = body; an intensely staining, discrete linear body containing DNA, etc. in nucleus.


chyle G. chylos = juice; milk-like contents of lacteals and intestinal lymphatics.


chylomicrons G. " + mikros = small; small particles of fat in lacteals; visible in light microscope.


chyme G. chymos = juice.


ciliary adj. L. ciliaris = related to eyelash; also to bulbar ciliary body, q.v.


ciliary body thickened part of the uvea of the eye at the base of the iris, consisitng of cilary zonule and ciliary smooth muscle.


ciliary zonule the suspensory ligament of the lens consisting of multiple fibres extending from folds of ciliary body to capsule of lens; zonule of Zinn, q.v.


cilium (-ia) L. = eyelash; also hair-like projections on epithelial cells.


circumvallate adj. L. circum = around + vallare = to wall; of largest lingual papilla, surrounded by a moat-like depression.


cisterna (-ae) L. = a reservoir, dilated sac; e.g., cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum in muscle cells.


Clarke, Jacob Augustus Lockhart 1817-1880; London physician; C.'s column = nucleus dorsalis of grey matter of spinal cord (1851).


Claudius, Friedrich Matthias. 1822-1869. Kiel anatomist; cells of C. = sustentacular cells in organ of Corti, q.v.


clavicle L. clavicula = a little key, dim L. clavis = a key; from A. alchiab = collar bone (Avicenna, c. 980 AD) locking shoulder-girdle to body; Roman clavis was also an S-shaped metal bar used to strike a doorbell or gong.


clearing process of making tissues transparent through use of chemicals with similar refractive index as specimens.


clitoris G. kleio = I close; labia minora enclose clitoris; also G. kleitorizein = to tickle; G. der Kitzler = the tickler (clitoris).


cochlea L. from G. kokhlos = land-snail; cone of inner ear containing organ of Corti for hearing; described by Fallopius (1552).


coeliac (celiac) G. koilia = a belly; related to abdominal organs.


coelom G. koilos = a hollow, belly; an internal sac; the single coelom inside the embryo gives rise to the pleural, pericardial and peritoneal sacs of the body lined by mesothelium.


Cohnheim, Julius Friedrich. 1839-1884 German experimental pathologist; described amoeboid movement of leucocytes; C.'s fields or areas = polygonal mosaic-like groups of myofibrils seen in cross-section of a single skeletal muscle fibre; end artery (q.v.) of C.; also fetal cells, dormant, persisting in adult organs.


collagen G. kolla = glue + gennan = to produce; insoluble fibrous protein component of almost all connective tissue; boiling it yields gelatine, q.v.


collateral L. con = together + lateralis = of a side; accessory or accompanying branch of something; side branch of a neurite or axon; branch of a blood vessel.


colloid G. kolla = glue + - oeides = in form of; glutinous; of material in thyroid follicles, or in pars intermedia of hypophysis.


colon G. kolon = large intestine, possibly from G. koilos = empty (as is often state of colon on dissection).


colostrum L. = thin yellow secretion of mother's breast two to three days after childbirth; also L. for a term of endearment.


Columbia jar a small jar for staining sections, cf. Coplin jar.


Columbus, Realdus. 1516-1559 Italian anatomist; studied under Vesalius at Padua; professor in Rome; discovered pulmonary circulation; described role of lens correctly (previously lens was thought to function as the retina does).


complement L. complere = to complete; enzymatic proteins in serum combining with antigen-antibody complex.


comitans L. = accompanying; e.g., venae comitantes = two or more small veins which often accompany and artery.


conarium L. conus = a cone; the pineal body, q.v.


concha L. = shell (of an oyster); formerly, the pinna of the ear and external auditory meatus; the three small bony projections on the lateral wall of the nasal cavity.


concretion L. concretus = solid + crescere = to grow; a calculus.


condenser L. con = with + densare = to make thick; lens for focussing light on specimen in a microscope.


cone terminal part of the dendrite of a sensory neuron in the retina, responsible for perception of colours.


conjunctiva L. barbarism from con = with + jungere = to join; mucous membrane which joins together the eyelid (palpebral) and the eyeball (bulbar).


Coplin jar staining jar holding five standard slides.


copula L. = a link, from L. copulare = to copulate; median elevation in floor of embryonic pharynx uniting ventral ends of third pharyngeal arches, cf. His (the elder).


corium L. = leather, skin; the dermis, consisting of papillary & reticular components; tanning corium of animals yields leather.


cornea L. corneus = horn-like; outer layer of anterior segment of eyeball.


corneum L. " ; outer layer of epidermis is the statum corneum.


cornified L. " ; conversion of squamous epithelial cells to horny material (see keratin).


corona L. = crown; coronal plane, a vertical plane dividing body into front and back (frontal plane).


corona radiata 1. = radiating fibres of the internal capsule of the brain; 2. = layer of cells of cumulus oophorus remaining attached to zona pellucida of ovum after ovulation.


corpora quadrigemina (cf. corpus) L. = the four-fold bodies (strictly, the eight-fold bodies, since L. quadri - = four + geminus = twin, double); four oval masses in roof of midbrain, the upper two (superior colliculi) being called the nates (= buttocks), the lower two (inferior colliculi), the testes.


corpus (-ora) L. = body.


corpus albicans (corpora albicantia) L. " + albicans = whitish; a degenerating corpus luteum in ovary.


corpus amylaceum (corpora amylacea) L. " + amylum = starch; starchy grains, or having the structure of starch grains with concentric layers; found in prostate gland (= prostatic concretions).


corpus arenaceum (corpora arenacea) L. " + arena = sandy (floor of an arena); a particle of brain sand.


corpus cavernosum (corpora cavernosa) L. " + caverna = a hollow; penis has two similar erectile structures, and a third corpus spongiosum, q.v.


corpus luteum L. " + luteum = yellow; major endocrine organ which is the remains of ovarian follicle after ovulation; yellow in ovary of cow where de Graaf (q.v.) first saw it.


corpus spongiosum L. " + spongiosa = spongy; erectile tissue surrounding urethra.


corpuscle L. corpusculum = little body (dim. of L. corpus).


cortex (-ices) L. = rind, or bark; outer layer of an organ.


Corti, Alfonso (Marquis). 1822-1888 Italian, anatomist with no academic post in Germany, Hyrtl's prosector in Vienna; retired to become a viticulturalist in Casteggio; organ of C. = spiral organ for sensory transduction in cochlea (1851); membrane of C. = tectorial membrane, q.v.


coverglass or coverslip thin disc or rectangle of glass to cover histological preparation for light microscopy (e.g., Grade 1; is 0.16 - 0.19 mm thick).


Cowper, William. 1666-1709 London surgeon and anatomist. C.'s glands = bulbo-urethral glands (1697).


cremaster muscle G. kremaster = a suspender, a hamock; the muscles by which the testis is suspended (Galen, 180).


crenated adj. L. crenatus = notched or scalloped; of appearance of a red blood cell in a hypertonic solution.


cribriform L. cribrum = sieve + forma = form; c. plate of ethmoid bone; c. fascia; area cribrosa of renal papilla.


crista ampullaris L. = crest + ampulla = little jar; sensory component of semicircular canal.


cryostat G. kryos = cold + statikos = in equilibrium; refrigerated device to maintain constant temperature, often with a cryotome inside for cutting frozen sections.


cryotome G. " + tome = a cutting; a microtome in a cryostat.


crypt G. kryptos = hidden.


cumulus oophorus L. cumulus = a little mound + G. oon = egg + phorus = bearing; part of the wall of an ovarian follicle surrounding and carrying the ovum.


cupula L. = a little tub (or upside down, a little dome; dim L. cupa = cup); gelatinous mass forming cap over crista ampullaris; a dome at apex of cochlea duct.


cutaneous from L. cutis = skin.


cuticle L. cuticula = a little skin (dim. of L. cutis ); e.g., of a nail, of a tooth, of a hair, capsule of lens of eye.


cutis L. = skin; cutis anserina (L. anserinus = of a goose) = "goose-flesh".


Cuvier, Georges Léopold Chrétian Frédéric Dagobert (Baron de la). 1769-1832 famous French naturalist; President of Council of State; duct of C. = common cardinal vein from union of inferior and superior cardinal veins in embryo (1805).


cyst G. kystis = bladder, sac; hence, cystic duct = duct of gall bladder.


cytochemistry G. kytos = hollow vessel (cell) + chemeia = chemistry; application of specific chemical reagents to a histological section, or to a cell smear, or to an ultrathin section (requiring electron microscopy), to reveal the cytoplasmic location (topography) of natural substances; cf. histochemistry.


cytology G. " + logos = study; study of cells and their organelles, usually with electron microscope.


cytoplasm G. kytos = hollow vessel (cell) + plasma = a formed substance; main component of cell other than nucleus & plasma membrane.


cytotrophoblast G. " + trophe = nourishment + blastos = germ; inner layer of embryonic trophoblast (Langhan's layer).



Histology Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ANAT2241 Support | Histology | Histology Stains | Embryology Glossary

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. 2017 Embryology Histology Glossary - C. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Histology_Glossary_-_C

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