Alkaline mucus

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Alkaline mucus is a thick fluid produced by animals which confers tissue protection in an acidic environment, such as in the stomach.[1]

Properties of alkaline mucus[edit]

Mucus that serves a protective function against acidic environments generally has a high viscosity, though the thickness and viscosity of the mucus layer can vary due to several factors. For example, alkaline mucus in the stomach increases in thickness when the stomach is distended.[2] The pH level of the mucus also plays a role in its viscosity, as higher pH levels tend to alter the thickness of the mucus, making it less viscous.[3] Because of this, invading agents such as Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, can alter the pH of the mucus to make the mucus pliable enough to move through.[4] Exposure to atmospheric air also tends to increase the pH level of alkaline mucus.[5]

Human alkaline mucus[edit]

In humans, alkaline mucus is present in several organs and provides protection by way of its alkalinity and high viscosity. Alkaline mucus exists in the human eye, stomach, saliva, and cervix.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hwang, S. H.; Litt, M.; Forsman, W. C. (1969). "Rheological Properties of Mucus". Rheologica Acta. 8 (4): 439. doi:10.1007/BF01976227. 
  2. ^ Bickel, M; Kauffman, GL (Apr 1981). "Gastric gel mucus thickness: effect of distention, 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin e2, and carbenoxolone". Gastroenterology. 80 (4): 770–5. PMID 6162705. 
  3. ^ Hwang, S. H.; Litt, M.; Forsman, W. C. (1969). "Rheological Properties of Mucus". Rheologica Acta. 8 (4): 439. doi:10.1007/BF01976227. 
  4. ^ Celli, J. P., B. S. Turner, N. H. Afdhal, S. Keates, I. Ghiran, C. P. Kelly, R. H. Ewoldt, G. H. Mckinley, P. So, S. Erramilli, and R. Bansil. "Helicobacter Pylori Moves through Mucus by Reducing Mucin Viscoelasticity." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.34 (2009): 14321-4326. MIT Publications. Web. 27 July 2014.
  5. ^ Correa, C.H.M., A.L.G. Mattos, and A.N. Ferrari. "In Situ Variation of Cervical Mucus PH during Exposure to Atmospheric Air." Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 34.6 (2001): 767-70. SCIELO Brazil. Web. 27 July 2014.
  6. ^ Wang, Ying-Ying; Lai, Samuel K.; Ensign, Laura M.; Zhong, Weixi; Cone, Richard; Hanes, Justin (2013). "The Microstructure and Bulk Rheology of Human Cervicovaginal Mucus Are Remarkably Resistant to Changes in PH". Biomacromolecules. 14 (12): 4429–435. doi:10.1021/bm401356q.