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      Barrier properties of mucus

      Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Mucus is tenacious. It sticks to most particles, preventing their penetration to the epithelial surface. Multiple low-affinity hydrophobic interactions play a major role in these adhesive interactions. Mucus gel is also shear-thinning, making it an excellent lubricant that ensures an unstirred layer of mucus remains adherent to the epithelial surface. Thus nanoparticles (NP) must diffuse readily through the unstirred adherent layer if they are to contact epithelial cells efficiently. This article reviews some of the physiological and biochemical properties that form the mucus barrier. Capsid viruses can diffuse through mucus as rapidly as through water and thereby penetrate to the epithelium even though they have to diffuse 'upstream' through mucus that is being continuously secreted. These viruses are smaller than the mucus mesh spacing, and have surfaces that do not stick to mucus. They form a useful model for developing NP for mucosal drug delivery.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
          Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
          Elsevier BV
          0169409X
          February 2009
          February 2009
          : 61
          : 2
          : 75-85
          Article
          10.1016/j.addr.2008.09.008
          19135107
          2bc5ef7d-4df9-4109-a4db-e2a3576ef449
          © 2009

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