Abodinar, Atiga, Tømmeraas, Kristoffer, Ronander, Elena, Smith, Alan M. and Morris, Gordon (2016) The physicochemical characterisation of pepsin degraded pig gastric mucin. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 87. pp. 281-286. ISSN 0141-8130
Abstract

Mucins are the main macromolecular components of the mucus secretions that cover the oral cavity, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts of animals. The properties of the mucus secretions are therefore directly correlated with the physicochemical properties of mucin glycoproteins. In this study, mucins were obtained from pig gastric mucous after digestion with pepsin at 37 ⁰C for 4 hours, these mucins were characterised in terms of compositional and hydrodynamic properties.

Compositional analysis showed that this mucin contains protein (15%), carbohydrates (55%) of which the constituents are: fucose (4%), galactose (9%), glucosamine (55%), glucosamine (33%) and sialic acid (2%). The latter component gives the mucin polymer a pH-dependant negative charge, with a -potential of -3 mV at pH 1.2 up to -11 mV at pH 7.4. The weight average molar mass was ~1 x 106 g/mol and intrinsic viscosity was ~0.42 dL/g although there was a small pH dependency due to the polyelectrolyte behaviour of the polymer. The measurements of viscosity versus shear rate showed shear thinning behaviour and the critical overlap concentration was determined to be 10-11% w/v indicating a compact structure. Knowledge of these properties is fundamental to the understanding interactions of mucins, with for example, novel drug delivery systems.

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