Gastrointestinal Mucus Gel Barrier

  • Juan Perez-VilarEmail author


A family of glycoproteins, known as gel-forming mucins, endow gastrointestinal mucus with its characteristic viscoelastic and biological properties. In the mucus, these large oligomeric glycoproteins are organized into entangled networks that occasionally can be stabilized by non-covalent interactions as in the stomach lumen. This network is a formidable chemical and physical barrier that not only protects the underlying epithelia but also limits the usefulness of orally administered drugs. In this chapter, I review the molecular and cellular properties of gel-forming mucins and how these macromolecules are organized into a tri-dimensional network to form the gastrointestinal mucus gel barrier.


Gastric Mucus COOH Terminus Entangle Network Mucus Barrier Mucin Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author’s studies mentioned in this review were supported by grants from the University of North Carolina Research Council, the North American Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the National Institute of Heath (NIDDK).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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