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Mucus Layers in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Journal article
Authors Malin E V Johansson
Published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Volume 20
Issue 11
Pages 2124-2131
ISSN 1078-0998
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 2124-2131
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1097/mib.000000000000...
Keywords mucus, mucin, MUC2, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, intestinal, GEL-FORMING MUCINS, SMALL-INTESTINE, ULCERATIVE-COLITIS, GOBLET CELLS, O-GLYCOSYLATION, MOUSE STOMACH, INCREASED SUSCEPTIBILITY, ENDOPLASMIC-RETICULUM, COMMENSAL BACTERIA, COLORECTAL-CANCER, Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Subject categories Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Abstract

The intestinal epithelium is covered with mucus with the main structural building block being the densely O-glycosylated MUC2 mucin. The intestinal epithelium is exposed to ingested material, our digestive machinery, and large amounts of microorganisms. Mucus is the first line of defense and aids to limit exposure to all these threats to the epithelium. In the small intestine, mucus acts as a matrix, which contains antimicrobial products, such as defensins and immunoglobulin A that limit epithelial exposure to the luminal bacteria. In the colon, the stratified inner mucus layer acts as a physical barrier excluding bacteria from the epithelium. Bacterial penetration of this normally restricted zone is observed in many colitis models and also in patients with ulcerative colitis. Mucus defects that allow bacteria to reach the epithelium and to stimulate an immune system response can lead to the development of intestinal inflammation. The current state of our knowledge concerning the function of the mucus layers and the main mucin component, MUC2, in inflammatory bowel disease is described in this review.

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