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Gut. Feb 1998; 42(2): 220–226.
PMCID: PMC1727008

Developmental expression of mucin genes in the human gastrointestinal system


Background and aims—Mucin glycoproteins play a key role in the normal function of the epithelium lining the gastrointestinal tract. The expression of mucin genes, MUC 3, 4, 5AC, 5B, 6, 7, and 8 in human fetal tissues was examined to establish the localisation and age of onset of expression of each mucin gene during human development.
Methods—Mucin gene expression was assayed by mRNA in situ hybridisation.
Results—Expression of MUC3 was detected in the small intestine and colon from 13 weeks gestation onwards and at low levels in the main pancreatic duct at 13 weeks only. MUC4 expression was seen at a low level in the colonic epithelium from 13 weeks of gestation but not elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. MUC5AC mRNA was detected in the colon at 17 weeks and at high levels in the stomach at 23 weeks. MUC6 transcripts were evident in the pancreatic ducts from 13 weeks of gestation and at high levels in the stomach at 23 weeks. MUC5B, MUC7, and MUC8 transcripts were not detected.
Conclusions—Mucin genes are expressed from the early mid-trimester of gestation in the developing human fetal gastrointestinal tract.

Keywords: mucin; developmental expression; gastrointestinal tract

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Expression of MUC3 mRNA in 13 (A-C) and 17 (D and E) week small intestine and 17 week colon (F-H). A, D, and F show brightfield views of sections hybridised with the MUC3 antisense probe, and B, E, and G show darkfield images of the sections shown in ...
Figure 2
Expression of MUC5AC mRNA in 17 week fetal colon. A shows a brightfield view of a section hybridized with the MUC5AC antisense probe and B shows a darkfield image of the same section. C shows a darkfield view of a consecutive section hybridised with the MUC5AC ...
Figure 3
Expression of MUC5AC (D-F) and MUC6 (A-C) mRNA in 23 week stomach. D and A show a brightfield view of a section hybridised with the MUC5AC and MUC6 antisense probes respectively and E and B show darkfield images of the same respective sections. F and ...
Figure 4
Expression of MUC6 mRNA in 13 week fetal pancreas. A shows a brightfield view of a pancreas section hybridised with the MUC6 antisense probe, and B shows a darkfield image of the same section. C shows a darkfield view of a consecutive section hybridised ...

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