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Annu Rev Physiol. 1995;57:565-83.

The hydrophobic barrier properties of gastrointestinal mucus.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Texas, Houston Medical School 77030, USA.


Impressive evidence has accumulated over the past 12 years indicating that one of the potentially important biophysical characteristics of mucus relates to its hydrophobic character. This surface property is region specific and reaches high values in the stomach and colon, where barrier properties against noxious agents in the lumen are most important. The hydrophobic properties of mucus appear to be related to its lipidic constituents and specifically to the presence of phospholipid surfactants that are synthesized, stored, and secreted by GI mucus cells in a regulated fashion.

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