Structural Heteropolysaccharide Adhesion to the Glycocalyx of Visceral Mesothelium

Tissue Eng Part A. 2018 Feb;24(3-4):199-206. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2017.0042. Epub 2017 Jun 30.


Bioadhesives are biopolymers with potential applications in wound healing, drug delivery, and tissue engineering. Pectin, a plant-based heteropolysaccharide, has recently demonstrated potential as a mucoadhesive in the gut. Since mucoadhesion is a process likely involving the interpenetration of the pectin polymer with mucin chains, we hypothesized that pectin may also be effective at targeting the glycocalyx of the visceral mesothelium. To explore the potential role of pectin as a mesothelial bioadhesive, we studied the interaction of various pectin formulations with the mesothelium of the lung, liver, bowel, and heart. Tensile strength, peel strength, and shear resistance of the bioadhesive-mesothelial interaction were measured by load/displacement measurements. In both high-methoxyl pectins (HMP) and low-methoxyl pectins, bioadhesion was greatest with an equal weight % formulation with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). The tensile strength of the high-methoxyl pectin was consistently greater than low-methoxyl or amidated low-methoxyl formulations (p < 0.05). Consistent with a mechanism of polymer-glycocalyx interpenetration, the HMP adhesion to tissue mesothelium was reversed with hydration and limited by enzyme treatment (hyaluronidase, pronase, and neuraminidase). Peel and shear forces applied to the lung/pectin adhesion resulted in a near-interface structural failure and the efficient isolation of intact en face pleural mesothelium. These data indicate that HMP, in an equal weight % mixture with CMC, is a promising mesothelial bioadhesive for use in experimental and therapeutic applications.

Keywords: adhesion; glycocalyx; mesothelium; pectin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / chemistry*
  • Glycocalyx / chemistry*
  • Heart
  • Liver / cytology
  • Lung / cytology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Pectins / chemistry
  • Proteoglycans / chemistry*


  • Proteoglycans
  • polysaccharide peptide
  • Pectins