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hypertrophy (hīpûrˈtrəfē), enlargement of a tissue or organ of the body resulting from an increase in the size of its cells. Such growth accompanies an increase in the functioning of the tissue. In normal physiology the growth in size of muscles (e.g., in an athlete as a result of increased exercise) and also the enlargement of a uterus in pregnancy are caused by hypertrophy of muscle cells. In pathology the thickening of the heart muscle from overstrain, as in hypertension (high blood pressure), is the result of hypertrophy. An organ subjected to extra work (e.g., the one kidney left to function after surgical removal of the other) usually compensates by enlarging; in such cases hyperplasia, an increase in the number of cells, generally accompanies hypertrophy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an increase in the volume of a body organ or of any of its parts.

Hypertrophy in man (or in animals) may occur either as the result of the enlargement of the individual component elements of an organ (cells and tissues) or as the result of an increase in their quantity (hyperplasia). True hypertrophy and false hypertrophy are distinguished. The former includes enlargement in volume or mass of specific elements as the result of an increased functional load (so-called functional, or compensatory, hypertrophy) or disruption of the regulatory influences of the nervous and endocrine systems. Functional hypertrophy may appear in healthy persons who are occupied with physical labor, such as in athletes (“physiologic hypertrophy” of the muscles). It may also appear upon affection of a part of any organ, such as after heart failure (compensatory hypertrophy) or after the destruction of a paired organ, such as a kidney (vicarious hypertrophy). Compensation for the impaired functions occurs in all instances of functional hypertrophy. Examples of hypertrophy occurring as a result of the disruption of neuroendocrine influences include acromegaly and gynecomastia; in these cases the hypertrophy has no compensatory significance but is accompanied by considerable disturbances of function. False hypertrophy refers to enlargement of the organ as the result of excessive growth of the interstitial, most often the adipose, tissue in response to atrophy of the parenchyma (the functional tissue). Function of the organ in such cases is usually decreased.


Hypertrophy of plant organs is the result of an increase in the size of their cells. The hypertrophy may be the effect of increased synthesis of the substances of the cell membrane or cytoplasm, deposits of reserve compounds, or the development of polynucleosis or polyploidy. The causes of hypertrophy include disruption of the synthesis and metabolism of phenol compounds, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as deficiency of trace elements. The condition may also be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, invertebrates, and plant parasites. It may accompany many mutations, grafts, and the effects on the plant of ionizing radiation or ultrasound. Hypertrophy is usually interconnected with hyperplasia and disruptions of tissue differentiation in the organs. In many instances (for example, when there is development of tumors or galls) hypertrophy follows cell division; after mechanical injury and physical or chemical effects, however, it is often primary. Hypertrophy is observed in higher as well as in lower plants.


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


Increase in cell size causing an increase in the size of an organ or tissue.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


enlargement of an organ or part resulting from an increase in the size of the cells
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The volume overload originates in hydro-saline retention, anemia and arteriovenous fistula, leading to LV eccentric hypertrophy (mass increase secondary to the increase in myocyte length and the increase in ventricular volume, with relatively normal wall thickness).
Eccentric hypertrophy was the most frequent pattern (n=17; 55%), followed by normal cardiac geometry (n=7; 23%), and concentric hypertrophy (n=5; 16%).
We used these parameters to appreciate the LV geometry as normal, concentric remodeling, concentric hypertrophy or eccentric hypertrophy as follows:
Eccentric hypertrophy: increased LV mass index and normal RWT (RWT <0.42).
Based on the criteria set out above, we defined the LV geometry as normal, concentric remodeling, concentric hypertrophy or eccentric hypertrophy. Table 4 presents the results of the classificationofLV geometry in our subjects, normotensives and hypertensives.
In patients without a HTNRE, concentric hypertrophy was seen in 16%, and eccentric hypertrophy was seen in 7.4%.
Hypertensive Response to Exercise And the Left Ventricle HNTRE No HTNRE Number of patients 136 270 left ventricular measurement Mass (mean) 199 g 184g Mass index (mean) 96 g/[m.sup.2] 103 g/[m,sup.2] Concentric hypertrophy (prevalence) 25% 16% Eccentric hypertrophy (prevalence) 12% 7.4% Note: HTNRE = hypertensive response to exercise Source: Dr.