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The gastric mucus layers: constituents and regulation of accumulation.

Journal article
Authors Mia Phillipson
Malin E V Johansson
Johanna Henriksnäs
Joel Petersson
Sandra J. Gendler
Stellan Sandler
A Erik G Persson
Gunnar C. Hansson
Lena Holm
Published in American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
Volume 295
Issue 4
Pages G806-12
ISSN 0193-1857
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages G806-12
Language en
Keywords Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Dinoprostone, pharmacology, Female, Indomethacin, pharmacology, Intestinal Mucosa, chemistry, drug effects, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Mucin-1, physiology, Mucus, metabolism, Nitric Oxide, physiology, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II, antagonists & inhibitors, physiology, Rats, S-Nitroso-N-Acetylpenicillamine, pharmacology
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


The mucus layer continuously covering the gastric mucosa consists of a loosely adherent layer that can be easily removed by suction, leaving a firmly adherent mucus layer attached to the epithelium. These two layers exhibit different gastroprotective roles; therefore, individual regulation of thickness and mucin composition were studied. Mucus thickness was measured in vivo with micropipettes in anesthetized mice [isoflurane; C57BL/6, Muc1-/-, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-/-, and neuronal NOS (nNOS)-/-] and rats (inactin) after surgical exposure of the gastric mucosa. The two mucus layers covering the gastric mucosa were differently regulated. Luminal administration of PGE(2) increased the thickness of both layers, whereas luminal NO stimulated only firmly adherent mucus accumulation. A new gastroprotective role for iNOS was indicated since iNOS-deficient mice had thinner firmly adherent mucus layers and a lower mucus accumulation rate, whereas nNOS did not appear to be involved in mucus secretion. Downregulation of gastric mucus accumulation was observed in Muc1-/- mice. Both the firmly and loosely adherent mucus layers consisted of Muc5ac mucins. In conclusion, this study showed that, even though both the two mucus layers covering the gastric mucosa consist of Muc5ac, they are differently regulated by luminal PGE(2) and NO. A new gastroprotective role for iNOS was indicated since iNOS-/- mice had a thinner firmly adherent mucus layer. In addition, a regulatory role of Muc1 was demonstrated since downregulation of gastric mucus accumulation was observed in Muc1-/- mice.

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