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Respir Med. 2002 Feb;96(2):81-6.

Expression of MUC5AC and MUC5B mucins in normal and cystic fibrosis lung.

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Thoracic Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London, UK.


Hypersecretion of airway mucus is a characteristic feature of chronic airway diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF) and leads via impairment of the muco-ciliary clearance and bacterial superinfection to respiratory failure. The major components of the mucus matrix forming family of mucins in the airways are MUC5AC and MUC5B. To investigate the expression of these glycoproteins in CF, immunohistochemistry was carried out on trachea, bronchi and peripheral lung obtained from CF patients and compared to normal lung tissues. MUC5AC immunohistochemistry demonstrated signals in goblet cells of the epithelial lining. Also, goblet cells inside glandular secretory ducts revealed MUC5AC-positive staining. In comparison to those from normal subjects, CF sections were characterized by inflammatory changes and goblet cell hyperplasia, resulting in increased numbers of MUC5AC-positive cells. Immunohistochemical staining for MUC5B showed abundant staining of submucosal glands and epithelial goblet cells. Inside the glands, the immunoreactivity was restricted to glandular mucous cells. MUC5AC and MUC5B are expressed in the same histological pattern in CF compared to normal tissues with an increase of MUC5AC-positive cells due to goblet cell hyper- and metaplasia.

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