Crystalline plasma cell inclusions in helicobacter-associated gastritis

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Crystalline cytoplasmic inclusions are well documented in B cell lymphomas but have rarely been described in reactive plasmacytic infiltrates.


Three cases of Lelicobacter-associated gastritis are described in which plasma cells focally contained rhomboid and needle-shaped crystalline inclusions.


Crystalline inclusions were identified in the gastric biopsy specimens from three patients undergoing routine upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The cells were characterised immunohistochemically using the following antisera: cytokeratin, leucocyte common antigen, desmin, CD20, CD68, CD79a, CD138, immunoglobulin (Ig)G, IgA and IgM heavy chains, and κ and λ Ig light chains. Clinical follow-up data were obtained.


All biopsies showed a Lelicobacter-associated active chronic gastritis. Variable numbers of plasma cells with intracytoplasmic crystalline inclusions in the superficial lamina propria were seen. The crystals were not stained with any of the antisera tested, but the cells containing the crystals expressed CD79a and CD138 and, in the two assessable cases, showed IgA and λ light chain immunoreactivity. The more numerous morphologically normal plasma cells in each patient were polytypic, and there were no histological features to suggest lymphoma. Crystals were not identified in the plasma cells in mucosal biopsy specimens from other sites in any of the patients.


Crystalline inclusions in plasma cells can occur in association with Lelicobacter gastritis. Although light chain restriction was shown in two patients, the overall histological and clinical findings indicated a reactive process. The presence of plasma cell crystals in isolation should not be considered to be diagnostic of lymphoma.

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