Control of mucin production by ocular surface epithelial cells

Exp Eye Res. 2004 Feb;78(2):173-85. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2003.10.005.


Multiple species of mucins are synthesized and secreted by corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. These mucins are vital components of the tear film protecting the ocular surface from the external environment by providing a physical and chemical barrier. The release of mucins must be tightly regulated as both mucin overproduction and underproduction cause ocular surface disorders. Mucin production can be regulated by controlling mucin synthesis, mucin release, or proliferation of the cells that produce the mucin. This review will focus on the evidence demonstrating the control of the mechanisms responsible for production of mucins, their secretion, and corneal and conjunctival epithelia cell proliferation. By understanding these mechanisms under normal conditions, treatments can be designed for diseases of the mucous production of the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism*
  • Conjunctiva / ultrastructure
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Epithelium, Corneal / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mucins / biosynthesis*
  • Rats


  • Mucins