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Science. 2012 Aug 24;337(6097):937-41. doi: 10.1126/science.1223012.

A periciliary brush promotes the lung health by separating the mucus layer from airway epithelia.

Author information

1
Cystic Fibrosis Research and Treatment Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7248, USA.

Abstract

Mucus clearance is the primary defense mechanism that protects airways from inhaled infectious and toxic agents. In the current gel-on-liquid mucus clearance model, a mucus gel is propelled on top of a "watery" periciliary layer surrounding the cilia. However, this model fails to explain the formation of a distinct mucus layer in health or why mucus clearance fails in disease. We propose a gel-on-brush model in which the periciliary layer is occupied by membrane-spanning mucins and mucopolysaccharides densely tethered to the airway surface. This brush prevents mucus penetration into the periciliary space and causes mucus to form a distinct layer. The relative osmotic moduli of the mucus and periciliary brush layers explain both the stability of mucus clearance in health and its failure in airway disease.

Comment in

PMID:
22923574
PMCID:
PMC3633213
DOI:
10.1126/science.1223012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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