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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Urine Microscopic: Microscopic Analysis of Urine Sediment. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Squamous Epithelial Cells: Phase Contrast

The cytoplasm and nucleus appear much darker when phase-contrast microscopy is used. Note the folded edge of the cytoplasm in the cells indicated by the arrows in the upper image; this is characteristic of squamous epithelial cells. The long, thread-like structures in this microscopic field are mucous strands.

The lower image shows a cluster of squamous epithelial cells. Large numbers of these cells may indicate skin (genital/anal) contamination of the urine specimen.