Mucus Quality on Horse Tracheal Epithelium: Microscopic Grading Based on Transparency

Respir Physiol. 1997 Jan;107(1):67-74. doi: 10.1016/s0034-5687(96)02503-0.


The aim of this ex-vivo study on excised tracheas of healthy horses was to characterise the microscopic heterogeneity of mucus quality by a visual grading system based on transparency and to determine whether differences in mucus quality, assessed by a visual grading system, influence tracheal mucus velocity (TMV). Small pieces of each trachea were mounted into a humidified chamber under a microscope. Mucus quality was visually subdivided into four grades (MG) and ciliary beat frequency and TMV were determined. Mucus on excised horse tracheal epithelium does not form a homogenous layer. We observed flakes and streams of a great heterogeneity, which by the characteristic of transparency can be qualified and quantified. Visual characterisation of mucus was able to explain a considerable part of TMV variation. Therefore, it can be considered as a suitable non-invasive method for the evaluation of mucus quality and transport effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Horses / anatomy & histology*
  • Horses / physiology
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Mucociliary Clearance / physiology*
  • Mucous Membrane / physiology
  • Mucus / physiology*
  • Trachea / physiology*