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intestinal mucins

Wednesday 4 June 2008

See also : mucin / mucins

Definition : Mucin glycoproteins are thought to play an important role in protecting the intestine from chemical or physical injury but the mechanisms of protection and the possible relationship between mucin structure and function are incompletely understood.

Structurally, purified intestinal mucins are a heterogeneous and polydisperse group of large-molecular-weight glycoproteins which have regional and developmental differences in composition.

Newborn mucin contains more protein and less carbohydrate than adult mucin and differs from adult mucin in buoyant density and mobility on electrophoresis.

The primary function of mucin, protection of the intestine, appears to be dependent upon at least four factors:
- the rate and quantity of mucin release;
- the physical barrier of the viscous mucus blanket;
- the provision of specific inhibitory binding sites to infectious agents and proteins,
- the inclusion of secretory immunoglobulins to provide a link to the immunologic component of the intestinal host defense system.

Mucus may provide a link between the physical and immunological components of the intestinal host defense system.

See also

- intestinal mucus
- intestinal mucosecretion
- intestinal glands (intestinal crypts)