No matter how vile it is to realize this, we are allyou are literally overwhelmed with mucus. Every day, our body produces about a liter of viscous fluid, which covers the walls of the entire gastrointestinal tract and other areas of our body. The main function of mucus in the human body is considered to be protection from mechanical damage and the penetration of dangerous bacteria. However, according to scientists from the US state of Massachusetts, the mucus produced by the human body not only inhibits bacteria - it literally controls their behavior.
Slime that covers about 200 squaremeters of walls of different parts of our body, consists of two important components. Firstly, the so-called glycans, molecules with a rather large branching structure, are an integral part of mucus. Secondly, a viscous fluid contains proteins called mucins. Joining together, they form a complex structure that the author of a new study, Katarina Ribbek, compares with brushes for cleaning bottles.
Why is mucus needed?
Katarina Ribbek studies human mucus alreadymore than ten years. She believes that mucus is too little studied component of our body, despite the fact that it covers most of our body. She already knew that getting into the mucus, many bacteria practically lose their mobility and become an easy target for the immune system. However, during one of the experiments, other interesting abilities appeared in the mucus.
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Researchers placed in human mucussamples of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Basically, they do not pose a danger to people, but with weakened immunity they can cause infection with various infections. In the course of observations, the researchers found that a viscous liquid not only slowed down the bacteria, but also deprived some of the possibilities.
Firstly, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ceased to secretetoxic substances, that is, they are much safer. Secondly, the bacteria did not attempt to destroy human epithelial cells. Thirdly, microorganisms lost the ability to interact with each other, so they could not form a biofilm. And the formation of bacterial clusters, among other things, can cause many serious diseases.
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Further researchers led byKatarina Ribbek is planning to study the effect of mucus on the so-called streptococci. They are parasites of humans and animals and multiply in the respiratory and digestive tracts. When they multiply, terrible diseases such as pharyngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia can occur. In the course of further work, scientists also hope to find out which bacterial receptors are affected by mucins and glycans contained in the mucus. Perhaps this knowledge will help them develop new drugs for a huge number of diseases caused by bacteria.