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Mucus and the Goblet Cell

Journal article
Authors Malin E V Johansson
Gunnar C. Hansson
Published in Digestive Diseases
Volume 31
Issue 3-4
Pages 305-309
ISSN 0257-2753
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 305-309
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1159/000354683
Keywords Mucus, Mucin, Colon Ulcerative colitis, INTERLEUKIN-10-DEFICIENT MICE, SPONTANEOUS COLITIS, MUCIN, COLON, TERMINUS, BACTERIA, PROTEASE, DISEASE, SYSTEM, LAYERS
Subject categories Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical cell biology, Cell biology

Abstract

The discovery of an inner mucus layer normally impervious to bacteria has changed our way of understanding the interaction between commensal bacteria and the host epithelial cells. This inner colon mucus layer is rapidly renewed and converted into the outer mucus layer by host controlled endogenous proteolytic processing. The mucus characteristics esteem from the properties of the main protein component of these layers, the MUC2 mucin. This forms an enormously large net-like structure that builds the laminated inner mucus layer that largely acts as a size exclusion filter excluding bacteria. In the absence of MUC2 mucin, there is no inner mucus layer and bacteria reach the epithelial cell surface, penetrate the crypts and are also found inside epithelial cells, something that leads to severe inflammation. Other mouse models that spontaneously develop colitis due to different defects, like an absent ion channel (Nhe3) or immunological mediators (TIr5, IL-10), all also have a defective inner colon mucus layer. Human patients with active ulcerative colitis have this layer penetrable to bacteria and beads the size of bacteria. Some of the ulcerative colitis patients in remission have a normal mucus layer whereas others have a penetrable inner mucus layer. Together, this suggests that the inner mucus layer and its integrity is important for the protection of the colon epithelium and inhibiting activation of the immune system as in ulcerative colitis. (C) 2013 S.Karger AG, Basel

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