Airway mucus is a complex airway secretion whose primary function as part of the mucociliary transport mechanism is to to serve as renewable and transportable barrier against inhaled particulates and toxic agents. The rheologic properties necessary for this function are imparted by glycoproteins, or mucins. Some respiratory disease states, e.g., asthma, cystic fibrosis, and bronchitis, are characterized by quantitative and qualitative changes in mucus biosynthesis that contribute to pulmonary pathology. Similar alterations in various aspects of mucin biochemistry and biophysics, leading to mucus hypersecretion and altered mucus rheology, result from inhalation of certain air pollutants, such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and cigarette smoke. The consequences of these pollutant-induced alterations in mucus biology are discussed in the context of pulmonary pathophysiology and toxicology.
- Air pollutants
- Lung toxicology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis