Gallbladder & extrahepatic bile ducts

Gallbladder nonneoplastic


Last author update: 1 September 2012
Last staff update: 17 November 2022 (update in progress)

Copyright: 2003-2022,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cholesterolosis gallbladder

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
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Cite this page: Gulwani H. Cholesterolosis. website. Accessed December 7th, 2022.
Definition / general
  • Present in 20% of cholecystectomy specimens, usually adult multiparous women
  • Asymptomatic
  • Associated with bile supersaturation with cholesterol but not with increased serum cholesterol
  • Due to accumulation of cholesterol esters and triglycerides in subepithelial macrophages and gallbladder epithelium
Gross description
  • Yellow, flat deposits on mucosal surface, focal or diffuse
  • May have speckled appearance ("strawberry gallbladder"), 20% are associated with cholesterol polyps
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Foamy macrophages in lamina propria and epithelium
  • Villous mucosal hyperplasia with macrophages at tips of villi
  • Usually no or minimal cholecystitis
  • May be polypoid, rarely with heterotopic bone (Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:895)
  • Usually changes are restricted to gallbladder and don't involve extrahepatic bile ducts
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Andrey Bychkov, M.D., Ph.D. and Jijgee Munkhdelger, M.D., Ph.D.

Mucosal projection

Abundant macrophages

Positive stains
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