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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Thomas, Douglas D. / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

12 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 3.273

CiteScore 2016: 3.01

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 1.679
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.800

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Volume 390, Issue 7


Management of the human mucosal defensive barrier: evidence for glycan legislation

Georgios Patsos
  • Department of Clinical Science at South Bristol, University of Bristol, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK
  • Present address: Institut für Pathologie, Universitätsklinik Heidelberg, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Anthony Corfield
Published Online: 2009-03-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.2009.052


The human gastrointestinal barrier comprises several layers which enable protection against the external environment. The mucosal epithelium, lamina propria, glycocalyx and secreted mucus each make a contribution to barrier protection. Glycocalyx and secreted mucins constitute a glycosylated environment which interacts with the enteric microflora. Turnover of the mucus layer and the creation of binding ligands for bacteria are significant factors in gut homeostasis. The gut microbiota is composed of many bacterial species, but improved technology has allowed detection of populations present at different stages of development and in disease. Interaction of the microflora with the gut occurs from birth onwards and enables maturation of gut angiogenesis and glycosylation as demonstrated in mouse models. Glycan legislation regulates the ongoing interaction between the microflora and the host mucosa. This accounts for host glycosylation mechanisms providing a dynamic response to fluctuations in the gut microflora. Evidence for glycan legislation is based on a surgical model where intact mucosa can be compared with and without contact to the faecal microflora. In addition, mucosal cell glycosylation is assessed using inhibitors of O-glycan synthesis. These inhibitors lead to growth arrest in cultured colorectal cancer cell lines through the induction of apoptosis and downregulation of proliferation.

Keywords: gastrointestinal; glycan; glycocalyx; inhibitors; microflora; mucin

About the article

Corresponding author

Received: 2009-01-17

Accepted: 2009-03-04

Published Online: 2009-03-31

Published in Print: 2009-07-01

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry, Volume 390, Issue 7, Pages 581–590, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.2009.052.

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