Degeneration

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degeneration

1. Biology the loss of specialization, function, or structure by organisms and their parts, as in the development of vestigial organs
2. Biology
a. impairment or loss of the function and structure of cells or tissues, as by disease or injury, often leading to death (necrosis) of the involved part
b. the resulting condition
3. Electronics negative feedback of a signal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Degeneration

 

(biology). (1) In morphology, the process of cell or organ destruction; for example, the disappearance of the tail in the tadpole when it is transformed into a frog.

(2) In microbiology, the attenuation of the viability of a culture of unicellular organisms under unfavorable growth conditions.

(3) The concepts of general and specific degeneration were introduced into the theory of evolution by A. N. Severtsov. By general degeneration, or morphophysiological regression, Severtsov meant one of the trends of the evolutionary process, characterized by a reduction of the organs with active functions (organs of locomotion, sense organs, the central nervous system) and the progressive development of organs that are passive but important for the animal’s survival (the sexual system and the passive means of defense, such as integuments and protective coloration). The development of tunicates, cirripeds, and tapeworms proceeded according to the principle of general degeneration. In specific degeneration, organs present in the ancestors are reduced in the process of an organism’s historical development: for example, the extremities in legless lizards and the shell in cephalopods. The cause of the reduction of organs is the absence of the conditions necessary for their development and functioning.

(4) In pathology, the term “degeneration” was introduced by R. Virchow, who admitted the possibility of the “degeneration” of cells. Present-day medicine has established that changes in cells depend on local or general metabolic disturbance, or dystrophy.


Degeneration

 

a change in the structure and/or function of cells and tissues as a result of certain diseases. The term “degeneration” was introduced into the language of general pathology by R. Virchow to designate processes in which the normal components of the cytoplasm are displaced and in which unnecessary or harmful deposits form in the intercellular matter. The deposits include protein-like substances, fatlike substances (in which case the deposition process is called lipoidosis), and calcium salts. In Soviet medical literature these pathological processes, which Virchow called degenerations, are conventionally termed dystrophies.

In some medical disciplines, “degeneration” has a specific meaning. For example, in neuropathology it usually refers to decomposition of the nerve fiber as a result of injury or death of the corresponding neuron.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

degeneration

[di‚jen·ə′rā·shən]
(electronics)
The loss or gain in an amplifier through unintentional negative feedback.
(medicine)
Deterioration of cellular integrity with no sign of response to injury or disease.
General deterioration of a physical, mental, or moral state.
(statistical mechanics)
A phenomenon which occurs in gases at very low temperatures when the molecular heat drops to less than ³⁄₂ the gas constant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Steatohepatitic HCC is characterized by a constellation of SH features such as fatty change, ballooning degeneration, neutrophilic inflammation, perisinusoidal fibrosis, and Mallory bodies.
Other areas of the palpebral conjunctivae and skin showed inflammatory foci in the epithelium without ulcer formation but with ballooning degeneration of epithelial cells, acantholysis, and occasional cell necrosis.
Nonulcerated mucosa showed focal areas of lichenoid interface, mixed inflammatory infiltrate with necrosis, ballooning degeneration, and dense eosinophilic cytoplasmic granules (Guarnieri-like inclusions) in the squamous epithelium.
Within all epidermal layers, a moderate number of keratinocytes exhibited ballooning degeneration of the cytoplasm (Fig 3).
Epithelial debris, necrotic cells, and colonies of bacteria surrounded the cell clusters, and marked epidermal and dermal hyperplasia were observed along with ballooning degeneration (Fig 1).