Temporal analysis of goblet cells and mucin gene expression in murine models of allergic asthma

Exp Lung Res. 2003 Dec;29(8):549-65. doi: 10.1080/01902140390240159.


In murine models of allergic asthma, mice repeatedly exposed to allergens or interleukin (IL)13 have numerous goblet cells in their airway epithelium, in contrast to healthy naïve mice. This study evaluated whether a single airway exposure of ovalbumin or IL13 would produce goblet cell metaplasia. Following ovalbumin challenge, airway goblet cells were present by 1 day, increased further by day 2 and day 3, and decreased by day 8. Following IL13 exposure, some goblet cells were detected at 6 hours and increased by 18 and 48 hours. Goblet transition cells, which are morphologically but not histologically similar to goblet cells, were observed at 6 and 18 hours following IL13 exposure and day 1 following ovalbumin challenge. Increased Muc5ac and Muc2 mRNA expression occurred following ovalbumin or IL13, but not saline, exposure. Mucin transcripts were localized to goblet cells in the surface airway epithelium. Muc5ac protein was expressed in some goblet transition and goblet cells. Overall, these data demonstrated that a single airway exposure to ovalbumin or IL13 is sufficient to generate goblet cell metaplasia and thus increase mucin gene expression in two strains of mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma* / genetics
  • Asthma* / immunology
  • Asthma* / pathology
  • Cell Division
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression*
  • Goblet Cells / immunology
  • Goblet Cells / metabolism
  • Goblet Cells / pathology*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interleukin-13 / immunology
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins / genetics*
  • Mucins / metabolism
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Interleukin-13
  • Muc2 protein, mouse
  • Muc5ac protein, mouse
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ovalbumin