Mucin function in inflammatory bowel disease: An update

Doron Boltin, Tsachi T. Perets, Alex Vilkin, Yaron Niv

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


MUC2 is the primary component of the mucin barrier that separates the intestinal microbiota and the intestinal epithelium. This mucous barrier is affected by both luminal/microbial factors and host/immune factors, both of which have genetic and environmental determinants. The complex interactions between these players in health and disease states are not fully understood. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has both genetic and environmental etiologies that lead to the breakdown of the epithelial barrier. In this review, we explore the up-to-date evidence that implicates mucin in the pathogenesis of IBD. In IBD, quantitative changes in mucin secretion occur, as well as structural changes in mucin's glycoprotein core and the sulfation and sialylation of mucin's oligosaccharide residues. These changes are associated with a diminished functionality of the mucous barrier. We identify the various genetic mutations associated with these changes and outline the animal models that have enhanced the current understanding of the genetic basis for IBD. Further study is needed to better characterize the immune and genetic influences on mucin expression and secretion and role of endoplasmic reticulum stress and a defective unfolded protein response in mediating these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ER stress
  • MUC2
  • goblet cell
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • intestinal epithelium
  • mucin
  • mucosal barrier
  • unfolded protein response


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