Goblet cell metaplasia is characterized by the presence of goblet cells (above the normal number; see above) in the epithelium lining the bronchi or bronchioles (Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3). Goblet cell metaplasia may occur in association with infectious agents or exposure to inhaled irritants in both rats and mice. It is frequently seen concurrently with inflammation and, less frequently, fibrosis, though it may be seen in the absence of these lesions. Mucus can be stained with the Alcian blue method, which can facilitate the identification of this lesion. Mucus also stains blue with the Mason''s trichrome staining method (Figure 2), but this stain is not typically used to identify goblet cells, and Alcian blue is preferred.
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