Objective: It was our aim to study the diagnostic significances of various dysplasia characteristics in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Methods: We analyzed 160 cases of primary MDS and a control group including 28 cases of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), 104 cases of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), 53 cases of non-severe aplastic anemia (NSAA), 40 cases of megaloblastic anemia and 50 cases of infectious and autoimmune diseases. Peripheral blood smears and bone marrow morphology were reviewed. Results: There was no significant difference in the occurrence rates of a variety of dysplasias in three lineages among MDS, megaloblastic anemia and PNH; however, changes in qualities and quantities in three lineages between NSAA and MDS were significantly different. ITP and MDS showed statistical differences in multiple changes in myeloid and erythroid cells. Significant differences also existed in multiple changes in erythroid series and megakaryocytes between infectious and autoimmune diseases and MDS. Morphological abnormalities highly related with MDS included multinucleated erythroblasts, ringed sideroblasts, poikilocytosis and gigantocytes, pseudo-Pelger neutrophils, ring-shaped nucleus, and micromegakaryocytes. Conclusions: It is difficult to discriminate megaloblastic anemia and PNH from MDS by means of cell morphology. Different dysplasias of MDS have specific diagnostic values.