mucus


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mucus

the slimy protective secretion of the mucous membranes, consisting mainly of mucin

Mucus

 

in animals and man, the secretion of mucous glands. In amphibians mucus is secreted onto the skin, whereas in invertebrates and other vertebrates it is secreted into the internal cavities of many organs, where it coats the mucous membranes.

Mucus is immunologically and bactericidally active. It protects organs and integumentary tissues from mechanical injuries and facilitates the movement of food along the digestive tract. Certain annelids, mollusks, ascidians, and other animals feed on food particles that adhere to the mucus when water is filtered through it.

Chemically, mucus is a complex mixture of glycoproteins, which account for approximately 40 percent of its dry weight. For example, mucus secreted by gastric and intestinal mucous epithelia is an aqueous solution of acid mucopolysaccharides, which are similar or identical to the mucopolysaccharides of connective tissue, neutral glycoproteins, which contain a large quantity of fucose, and acid glycoproteins, which contain sialic acids. Hyaluronic acid is a major constituent of synovia.

Mucus is important in maintaining cellular fluid and ion balances. In mammals it is a constituent of the developing embryo’s connective tissue, although at birth it is found only in the umbilical cord.

REFERENCES

Khimiia uglevodov. Moscow, 1967.
Kretovich, V. L. Osnovy biokhimii rastenii, 5th ed. Moscow, 1971.
Schlegel, H. Obshchaia mikrobiologiia. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from German.)

N. D. GABRIELIAN

mucus

[′myü·kəs]
(physiology)
A viscid fluid secreted by mucous glands, consisting of mucin, water, inorganic salts, epithelial cells, and leukocytes, held in suspension.
References in periodicals archive ?
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Fahy said that the research, a collaborative effort between UCSF, University College Dublin (UCD), in Ireland, and the Cleveland Clinic (CC), in Ohio, has implications for other lung conditions characterized by thickened mucus, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma.
Andrea Cerutti, MD, PhD, the study's senior author and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine said that they found that whenever mucus was present, it was stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (regulatory proteins released by the cells of the immune system that act to regulate an immune response).
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We need a mechanism to remove all the junk we breathe in, and the way it's done is with a very sticky gel, called mucus, that catches these particles and removes them with the help of tiny cilia, the cilia are constantly beating, even while we sleep.
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Many people think that yellow or green mucus is caused by bacteria, but this isn't the case," says Professor Eccles.
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