With acute cholecystitis, a gallstone gets lodged in the cystic duct, or maybe in the common bile duct, and then causes acute inflammation, pain, and possibly, but not usually, infection; almost all cases of acute cholecystitis though, about 90%, clear up after about a month and the gallstone dislodges.
It’s possible though, that gallstones get stuck again, and then dislodge, and then get stuck again, and dislodge, and so on.
So over time, you can imagine the gall bladder walls taking a serious beating, and as those epithelial cells go through this cycle of inflammation over and over again, patients are essentially in this constant state of inflammation, also known as chronic cholecystitis.
After a while, they can begin to show signs of cellular damage and the epithelial cells can possibly even die off.
Some patients might not even have had cases of acute cholecystitis where the gallstone gets lodged in the ducts, and sometimes they just have gallstones that cause this constant state of irritation and mild inflammation just by being in the gallbladder.
Gallstones can be made up of bilirubin, called pigment gallstones, or cholesterol, called cholesterol stones, or maybe they’re made up of both both, and when they roll around and are in contact with the epithelial cells, they can cause inflammation.
One study found that cholesterol stones in particular might have a more potent ability to stimulate inflammation of the gallbladder epithelial cells.
Whatever the case, chronic inflammation can take its toll, and changes in the gallbladder wall structure can start to take place.