An attempt was made to quantify mast cells using toluidine blue and macrophages, with alpha-1-antitrypsin as a marker, from adjacent sections in the mucosa of two groups of gall bladders showing either minimal inflammatory change or established chronic cholecystitis. The results were expressed as cells/mm2 of mucosa. Alpha-1-antitrypsin showed both macrophages and mast cells, and therefore an estimate of macrophage numbers was obtained by subtraction. Mast cells comprised more than 60% of the alpha-1-antitrypsin positive cells. There were significantly (p greater than 0.001) more mast cells and macrophages in minimal inflammatory gall bladder mucosa than in established chronic cholecystitis.
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