Immunological aspects of intestinal mucus and mucins

Nat Rev Immunol. 2016 Oct;16(10):639-49. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.88. Epub 2016 Aug 8.


A number of mechanisms ensure that the intestine is protected from pathogens and also against our own intestinal microbiota. The outermost of these is the secreted mucus, which entraps bacteria and prevents their translocation into the tissue. Mucus contains many immunomodulatory molecules and is largely produced by the goblet cells. These cells are highly responsive to the signals they receive from the immune system and are also able to deliver antigens from the lumen to dendritic cells in the lamina propria. In this Review, we will give a basic overview of mucus, mucins and goblet cells, and explain how each of these contributes to immune regulation in the intestine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology
  • Goblet Cells / immunology
  • Goblet Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Mucins / biosynthesis
  • Mucins / chemistry
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Mucus / immunology*
  • Mucus / metabolism*


  • Mucins