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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Physiological properties, composition and structural profiling of porcine gastrointestinal mucus

Barmpatsalou, Vicky; Dubbelboer, Ilse R.; Rodler, Agnes; Jacobson, Magdalena; Karlsson, Eva; Pedersen, Betty Lomstein; Bergstrom, Christel A. S.


The gastrointestinal mucus is a hydrogel that lines the luminal side of the gastrointestinal epithelium, offering barrier protection from pathogens and lubrication of the intraluminal contents. These barrier properties likewise affect nutrients and drugs that need to penetrate the mucus to reach the epithelium prior to absorption. In order to assess the potential impact of the mucus on drug absorption, we need information about the nature of the gastrointestinal mucus. Today, most of the relevant available literature is mainly derived from rodent studies. In this work, we used a larger animal species, the pig model, to characterize the mucus throughout the length of the gastrointestinal tract. This is the first report of the physiological properties (physical appearance, pH and water content), composition (protein, lipid and metabolite content) and structural profiling (rheology and gel network) of the porcine gastrointestinal mucus. These findings allow for direct comparisons between the characteristics of mucus from various segments and can be further utilized to improve our understanding of the role of the mucus on region dependent drug absorption. Additionally, the present work is expected to contribute to the assessment of the porcine model as a preclinical species in the drug development process.


Porcine; Gastrointestinal; Mucus; Composition; Structure; Proteomics; Lipidomics; Rheology; Cryo-SEM

Published in

European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
2021, volume: 169, pages: 156-167
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Barmpatsalou, Vicky
Uppsala University
Dubbelboer, Ilse R.
Uppsala University
Rodler, Agnes
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Karlsson, Eva
Pedersen, Betty Lomstein
Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Bergstrom, Christel A. S.
Uppsala University

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

Publication Identifiers


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