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Laryngoscope. 2007 Sep;117(9):1666-76.

Mucin gene expression in human middle ear epithelium.

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Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.



To investigate the expression of recently identified human mucin genes in human middle ear epithelial (MEE) specimens from in vivo middle ear (ME) tissue and to compare this mucin gene expression with mucin gene expression in an immortalized cell culture in vitro source of human MEE.


Human MEE was harvested as in vivo specimens, and human MEE cell cultures were established for in vitro experimentation. RNA was extracted from MEE and primers designed for reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to assess for mucin gene MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC5B, MUC6, MUC7, MUC8, MUC9, MUC11, MUC12, MUC13, MUC15, MUC16, MUC18, MUC19, and MUC20 expression. Mucin gene expression in the in vivo and in vitro ME tissue was compared against tissues with known expression of the mucin genes in question.


Mucin genes MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC5B, MUC7, MUC8, MUC9, MUC11, MUC13, MUC15, MUC16, MUC18, MUC19, and MUC20 were identified and expressed in both the in vivo and in vitro samples of MEE. Mucin genes MUC6, MUC12, and MUC17 were not identified in either tissue samples.


Many of the mucin genes that have been recently identified are expressed in human MEE. These genes are expressed in a similar manner in both in vivo and in vitro models. Understanding the mechanisms in which these genes regulate the physiology and pathophysiology of MEE will provide a more thorough understanding of the molecular mechanics of the MEE and disease conditions such as otitis media.

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