The name strawberry gallbladder comes from the typically stippled appearance of the mucosal surface on gross examination, which resembles a strawberry. Cholesterolosis results from abnormal deposits of cholesterol esters in macrophages within the lamina propria (foam cells) and in mucosal epithelium. The gallbladder may be affected in a patchy localized form or in a diffuse form. The diffuse form macroscopically appears as a bright red mucosa with yellow mottling (due to lipid), hence the term strawberry gallbladder.
It is not tied to cholelithiasis (gallstones) or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder).