Cornification Index

Cornification Index


  • The cornification index (the percentage of the cornified cells) is one simple method of assessing oestrogen activity.


  • The vaginal cytology during the different phases of the menstrual cycle is as follows:


  • Endometrial debris, red and white blood corpuscles and histocytes are present.
  • The vaginal squames are immature in that they have basophilic cytoplasm; they are adherent or conglomerate and their nuclei are larger than those of mature cells.

Early proliferative phase. 

  • Polymorphs are few and squames tend to be discrete and more mature
  • Their cytoplasm more acidophilic and their nuclei more pyknotic and smaller; the cornification index rises.

Late proliferative phase. 

  • As the oestrogen activity reaches its maximum, the squames become uniform and mature, and the nuclei are small and pyknotic. 
  • The cells are separate, and the cornification index is the highest.

Early secretory phase. 

  • The squames become clumped together in clusters. 
  • They are less mature, the cytoplasm is now largely basophilic, and the nuclei are bigger, less dark-staining and vesicular. 
  • The cells are no longer flat but appear to be folded with a crinkled or crumpled appearance.
  • Some are pointed and characteristically spear shaped.
  •  The cornification index falls.

Late secretory phase. 

  • Intermediate precornified cells predominate. 
  • There is lack of cornification. 
  • Cytoplasm is basophilic—the cells are crumpled and folded. 
  • The nuclei are large, pale staining and vesicular.
  •  Pyknosis and concentration of nuclear substance are absent.
  • Polymorphs are on the increase. 
  • The background ismucky.
Exam Question
  • Cornification Index is maximum in Late proliferative phase
  • Cornification index or eosinophilic index in the diagnosis of atrophic vaginitis indicates Estrogenic effect
  • Hypercornification of duct is one of the Causative factor for acne 
Don’t Forget to Solve all the previous Year Question asked on Cornification Index

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