Summary of Atrophy, aplasia, and hypoplasia
Atrophy is the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body. Causes of atrophy include mutations (which can destroy the gene to build up the organ), poor nourishment, poor circulation, loss of hormonal support, loss of nerve supply to the target organ, excessive amount of apoptosis of cells, and disuse or lack of exercise or disease intrinsic to the tissue itself. In medical practice, hormonal and nerve inputs that maintain an organ or body part are said to have trophic effects. A diminished muscular trophic condition is designated as atrophy.
Aplasia (from Greek a—not; plasis—molding) is defined in general as "defective development or congenital absence of an organ or tissue." In the field of hematology, the term refers to "incomplete, retarded, or defective development, or cessation of the usual regenerative process."
Hypoplasia (from ancient Greek ὑπo- hypo-, "under" + πλάσις plasis, "formation"; adjective form hypoplastic) is underdevelopment or incomplete development of a tissue or organ. Although the term is not always used precisely, it properly refers to an inadequate or below-normal number of cells. Hypoplasia is similar to aplasia, but less severe. It is technically not the opposite of hyperplasia (too many cells). Hypoplasia is a congenital condition, while hyperplasia generally refers to excessive cell growth later in life. (Atrophy, the wasting away of already existing cells, is technically the direct opposite of both hyperplasia and hypertrophy.)