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Mucus properties and goblet cell quantification in mouse, rat and human ileal Peyer's patches.

Journal article
Authors Anna Ermund
Jenny K Gustafsson
Gunnar C. Hansson
Asa V Keita
Published in PloS one
Volume 8
Issue 12
Pages e83688
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages e83688
Language en
Keywords Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Animals, Female, Goblet Cells, metabolism, ultrastructure, Humans, Ileum, cytology, immunology, metabolism, Intestinal Mucosa, cytology, immunology, metabolism, ultrastructure, Male, Mice, Mucin-2, metabolism, Mucus, metabolism, Peyer's Patches, cytology, immunology, metabolism, Rats
Subject categories Cell and Molecular Biology


Peyer's patches (PPs) are collections of lymphoid follicles in the small intestine, responsible for scanning the intestinal content for foreign antigens such as soluble molecules, particulate matter as well as intact bacteria and viruses. The immune cells of the patch are separated from the intestinal lumen by a single layer of epithelial cells, the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE). This epithelium covers the dome of the follicle and contains enterocyte-like cells and M cells, which are particularly specialized in taking up antigens from the gut. However, the presence and number of goblet cells as well as the presence of mucus on top of the FAE is controversial. When mouse ileal PPs were mounted in a horizontal Ussing-type chamber, we could observe a continuous mucus layer at mounting and new, easily removable mucus was released from the villi on the patch upon stimulation. Confocal imaging using fluorescent beads revealed a penetrable mucus layer covering the domes. Furthermore, immunostaining of FAE from mice, rats and humans with a specific antibody against the main component of intestinal mucus, the MUC2 mucin, clearly identify mucin-containing goblet cells. Transmission electron micrographs further support the identification of mucus releasing goblet cells on the domes of PPs in these species.

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