Regulation of mucin and fluid secretion by conjunctival epithelial cells

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2002 Nov;21(6):555-76. doi: 10.1016/s1350-9462(02)00038-1.


Tears play a vital role in the health and protection of the cornea and conjunctiva. The tear film consists of multiple layers and different glands secrete each layer. Because of many and varied requirements of the ocular surface cells, the volume, composition and structure of the tear film must be exquisitely controlled. If any layer of the tear film is disrupted or altered, the entire tear film is affected, often with deleterious effects. This chapter reviews the current knowledge of the neural and growth factor regulation of electrolyte, water and protein secretion from the goblet and stratified squamous cells of the conjunctiva as well as the mechanisms used for fluid secretion. The evidence presented in this review suggests that parasympathetic nerves stimulate goblet, but not stratified squamous, cell secretion. Sympathetic nerves stimulate stratified squamous, but not goblet, cell secretion, while P2Y(2) agonists stimulate secretion from both cell types. Growth factors regulate goblet cell secretion, but their effects on stratified squamous cell secretion are unknown.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Body Fluids / metabolism*
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Mucins / metabolism*


  • Mucins