Forty-one Feulgen-stained cervical imprint smears were analyzed by means of the SAMBA 200 cell image processor in order to quantitatively score human papillomavirus (HPV) 16-18-induced morphonuclear modifications as assessed by morphometric, densitometric, and textural parameters. Molecular hybridization technology using 16 and 18 type specific genetic probes made it possible to divide our series into three groups: Group 1, containing noninfected smears; Group 2, containing "suspicious", i.e., borderline positive, smears; and Group 3, those related to infected patients. Our results show that nuclei from infected smears are much more hyperchromatic and bigger than those arising from noninfected smears. This quantitative description of HPV 16-18-induced chromatin modifications enabled us to create preliminary data banks which could lead to an objective and reproducible grading of unknown cases. This approach is now being prospectively assessed on a large series of cases because the value of the current study is limited until the data bank is tested against unknown specimens with a broader spectrum of HPV infection.