Microlithiasis in parotid sialadenosis and chronic submandibular sialadenitis is related to the microenvironment: an ultrastructural and microanalytical investigation

Histopathology. 1998 Jun;32(6):530-5.


Aims: Microlithiasis was investigated in parotid sialadenosis and chronic submandibular sialadenitis to determine if it relates to the glandular microenvironment as has been found experimentally.

Methods and results: Semithin sections were stained by a mixture of methylene blue and Azure II followed by basic fuchsin, which stains calcified parts of microliths red and organic parts green, and ultrathin sections were examined electron microscopically and microanalytically. Microliths in sialadenosis were found in periacinar stroma, in which necrotic acinar cells were found, and in parenchyma, and consisted of consolidated organic material with little or no crystalline calcium. Microliths in sialadenitis were found in stroma, particularly around intercalary ducts, in lumina and in parenchyma, and contained much crystalline calcium. Macrophages enclosed some microliths.

Conclusions: The paucity of calcium in microliths in sialadenosis and the abundance in sialadenitis relates to the glandular calcium. The periacinar distribution of microliths in sialadenosis possibly relates to formation in periacinar necrotic debris. The distribution of microliths in sialadenitis around intercalary ducts possibly relates to formation in matrix vesicles formed from atrophic parenchyma, and in lumina to formation in stagnant secretory material. Microliths appear to be scavenged by macrophages. Thus the experimental finding that salivary microlithiasis relates to the microenvironment pertaining in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / pathology*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Parotid Gland / chemistry
  • Parotid Gland / pathology*
  • Parotid Gland / ultrastructure
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / complications
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / pathology*
  • Sialadenitis / complications
  • Sialadenitis / pathology*
  • Submandibular Gland / chemistry
  • Submandibular Gland / pathology*
  • Submandibular Gland / ultrastructure


  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium