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Mucus organisation is shaped by colonic content; a new view

Abstract : The colonic mucus barrier is commonly described as a continuous double layer covering the epithelium, separating the microbiota from the intestinal tissue. This model is currently considered valid throughout the colon. The colon is characterised by regional anatomo-functional specificities such as presence and consistency of contents and location. In this study, we characterised the organisation of the colonic mucus barrier in proximal and distal colon of rodents by histological and FISH staining, taking into account aforementioned specificities. By using longitudinal sections and imaging extensive areas of tissue with and without colonic contents, we have obtained a spatiotemporal overview of mucus organisation in the colon. We describe for the first time that the colonic mucus layer covers the faeces instead of the epithelium in the distal colon. This faecal mucus layer confines the microbiota to the faeces and prevents it from remaining in empty distal colon. In the proximal colon, the mucus did not form a separating layer between bacteria and epithelium. We conclude that the organisation of colonic mucus is reliant on the presence of the colonic content, and the location within the colon. Our findings reopen the discussion on the nature of the colonic mucus barrier.
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Jasper B.J. Kamphuis, Muriel Mercier-Bonin, Hélène Eutamène, Vassilia Theodorou. Mucus organisation is shaped by colonic content; a new view. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, 13 p. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-08938-3⟩. ⟨hal-01608392⟩

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