Mucus is a protective covering for all non-horny or weakly keratinized epithelia . It forms a variable boundary structure between the environment and various internal and external body surfaces . The thickness of the slime layer is organ and situation-specific and varies between about 200 and 500 microns.
The composition and thus the properties of mucus can vary significantly in the various body regions (respiratory tract , gastrointestinal tract). This mainly concerns the viscosity , which is controlled by the content of certain glycoproteins , the so-called mucins . They form the most important, moisture-binding component of the mucus. In addition, mucus may contain, among other things, exfoliated cell material of the epithelium, immune cells, antimicrobial proteins (lysozyme) and antibodies (IgA).
General Mucus functions
- Moisturization of the epithelial surface , protection against dehydration
- Increasing the lubricity of tissues
- Encapsulation and encapsulation of foreign bodies
- Defense of microorganisms
Special Mucus Functions
- Humidification of the respiratory air (nasal mucosa)
- Protection against aggressive acids (gastric mucosa)
- Conception regulation (vaginal mucosa, uterine lining)