The mucus barrier: the neglected slimy component of gut barrier function


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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New insights about the different mechanisms and key molecular elements involved in the physiology of the mucus layer and the impact of specific modifications are presented in a review article published in Gut.

Given that the mucus layer is vital for maintaining intestinal health, and it has been linked with the appearance of diseases, the authors say proper knowledge is highly warranted.

They divided the review into different subparts, starting with the mucus structure and organisation, then a discussion about the difference between transmembrane mucins and gel-forming mucins, and the variation in term of mucus composition between the small and the large intestine.

A focus on the role of the mucus follows. Its bidirectional interaction with the gut microbiota, how external factors such as diet, specific probiotics, or inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) may influence or be influenced by these factors and eventually impacting health.

By covering different complementary aspects of the barrier such as mucus chemistry, production, secretion, and degradation, as well as the various factors involved in the modification of the mucus layer status, the review adds to the increasing attention that has been paid to the different ways to approach the gut barrier function.