Salivary mucins in host defense and disease prevention.

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Salivary mucins in host defense and disease prevention.

J Oral Microbiol. 2015;7:29759

Authors: Frenkel ES, Ribbeck K

Mucus forms a protective coating on wet epithelial surfaces throughout the body that houses the microbiota and plays a key role in host defense. Mucins, the primary structural components of mucus that creates its viscoelastic properties, are critical components of the gel layer that protect against invading pathogens. Altered mucin production has been implicated in diseases such as ulcerative colitis, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, which highlights the importance of mucins in maintaining homeostasis. Different types of mucins exist throughout the body in various locations such as the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and female genital tract, but this review will focus on mucins in the oral cavity. Salivary mucin structure, localization within the oral cavity, and defense mechanisms will be discussed. These concepts will then be applied to present what is known about the protective function of mucins in oral diseases such as HIV/AIDS, oral candidiasis, and dental caries.

PMID: 26701274 [PubMed]