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Immunological aspects of intestinal mucus and mucins

Journal article
Authors Malin E V Johansson
Gunnar C. Hansson
Published in Nature Reviews Immunology
Volume 16
Issue 10
Pages 639-649
ISSN 1474-1733
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 639-649
Language en
Keywords functional cftr channel, in-situ hybridization, goblet cell, gastrointestinal mucus, nematode infection, bacteroides-thetaiotaomicron, spatial-organization, mucosal protection, colorectal-cancer, cystic-fibrosis, Immunology
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


A number of mechanisms ensure that the intestine is protected from pathogens and also against our own intestinal microbiota. The outermost of these is the secreted mucus, which entraps bacteria and prevents their translocation into the tissue. Mucus contains many immunomodulatory molecules and is largely produced by the goblet cells. These cells are highly responsive to the signals they receive from the immune system and are also able to deliver antigens from the lumen to dendritic cells in the lamina propria. In this Review, we will give a basic overview of mucus, mucins and goblet cells, and explain how each of these contributes to immune regulation in the intestine.

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