Multi-mucus barrier segregates colon microbiota from host tissue

October 22, 2020

Whole-colon imaging in mice has revealed a continuous colonic mucus system, which forms a protective barrier between potentially harmful gut microbiota and host tissue by encapsulating fecal pellets as they form and as they are eliminated from the colon. While it remains unclear whether an analogous colonic mucus system exists in humans, understanding the role of the colonic tissue as a driver in mucus barrier formation may help in efforts to develop targeted therapeutic interventions for intestinal disease, like colitis. In mammals, the intestine is home to a dense and diverse commensal microbiota. The trillions of highly active microorganisms that reside there play an important role in both health and disease. The relationship between host and microbe is not always mutualistic - many types of common gut flora will have a pathogenic effect on host tissues if exposed, resulting in infection and inflammation. Separating the intestinal epithelium from the numerous hazards of the colonic environment is a thin layer of colon mucus, which is thought to regulate host-microbiota interaction. However, how this mucus system forms and functions across the entire length of the colon has been difficult to ascertain. Kirk Bergstrom and colleagues developed a whole-colon imaging method to analyze the origins and composition of colonic mucus in mice and evaluate its role in shielding host tissues from potentially harmful intestinal microorganisms during fecal elimination. Bergstom et al. found that the colonic mucus system consists of two different types of O-glycan rich mucus that form in different colonic regions. As fecal pellets form, proximal colon-derived mucus encapsulates the material, creating a primary barrier between the associated microbiota and host. As the pellets pass through the colon, mucus produced in the distal colonic regions form a secondary layer, which helps strengthen the mucus barrier and facilitates elimination. "Further investigation of how the mucus system works throughout the colon in humans is critical to provide targeted aid to the increasing number of people with intestinal disorders," write George Birchenough and Malin Johansson in a related Perspective.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to