Scanning Electron Microscopy


Some cholesterol gallstones contain darkly pigmented centers or peripheral concentric pigmented bands. We examined the cross-sectional surface of three cholesterol gallstones which contained both central and peripheral pigmented areas with electron-probe microanalysis (EPM) and energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDXA) to determine the elemental composition of the pigmented regions. Linear EPM across the cross-sectional surface of the stones demonstrated that most of the pigmented regions of all three stones had high Ca and P signals; the nonpigmented intervening areas had markedly lower or no detectable Ca and P signals. In two of the three stones, high O signals coincided with the high Ca and P signals suggesting that both calcium bilirubinate and calcium phosphate were present in these pigmented areas. EDXA of the central and peripheral pigmented areas of each stone confirmed the presence of a high Ca signal. Our results demonstrate that in some cholesterol gallstones there is cyclic deposition of calcium bilirubinate and other calcium salts.

Included in

Biology Commons