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Biorheology. 1987;24(6):615-23.

Mechanical characterization and properties of gastrointestinal mucus gel.

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Department of Physiological Sciences, Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.


Mechanical spectroscopy has been used to study the structure of mucus gel taken from the surface of the pig gastrointestinal tract. Mucus from stomach, duodenum and colon was insoluble and its mechanical properties, characteristic of a weak viscoelastic gel, were unchanged in saline, acid (pH 2) and denaturants. Small intestinal mucus gel which was of poorer quality, was disrupted following exposure to acid and denaturants. Concentration of purified glycoprotein produced gels that had mechanical spectra with the same profiles as the respective native secretion except for reconstituted small intestinal mucus which was of better quality and similar to the other native and reconstituted gels. Reduction of S-S linkages or proteolysis of all mucus gels caused a collapse of structure to give profiles typical of a viscous solution. This collapse of gel structure was shown to result from a breakdown of the covalent polymeric structure of the component glycoproteins. A linear correlation for mucus gels was observed between gel quality (as defined by tan delta) and the ratio of polymeric glycoprotein to its degraded lower molecular weight subunit. Human gastric mucus from a histologically normal stomach also had the characteristics of a weak viscoelastic gel, although that from patients with peptic ulcer disease has a significantly reduced content of polymeric glycoprotein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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