Significance of crystalline inclusions in lung granulomas.

D. Visscher, A. Churg, A. L. Katzenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We describe six examples of nonnecrotizing lung granulomatosis in which there were numerous polarizable crystalline inclusions. The crystals were easily visible in routine H&E-stained slides and were so prominent that the question of a pneumoconiosis or other exogenous source was raised. There was no clinical history to suggest an inhalational source, however, and no patient used intravenous drugs. In one case, an atypical mycobacterial infection was proven to be etiologic, while sarcoidosis was documented in three. A review of 63 additional consecutive lung biopsies and 24 extrapulmonary biopsies showing nonnecrotizing granulomatous inflammation demonstrated crystals in almost two-thirds of cases. X-ray spectroscopy and histochemistry demonstrated that the crystals contained mainly calcium oxalate and calcium carbonate and thus represented products of cellular metabolism. These findings emphasize that crystalline inclusions are common in lung granulomas of varying etiology. They may be numerous, and their presence does not necessarily indicate a pneumoconiosis or other exogenous source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-419
Number of pages5
JournalModern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Significance of crystalline inclusions in lung granulomas.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this