How mucus keeps us healthy
Rizzo has been suffering from cold since last 2 days and is irritated with her running nose . “Aachoo..” here she goes again and this time she spots phlegm on her handkerchief. She talks to her mom regarding how awful she feels because of this fluid. Her mom then explains to her about this fluid.
MUCUS: BODILY FLUID
Mucus is a protective substance that’s excreted from multiple areas of the body, such as the mouth, sinuses, throat, lungs, stomach, and intestine. This substance provides lining to all the wet surfaces of our body which are not covered by skin- eyes , nose, lungs and stomach.
Mucus contains lots of compounds like fats, proteins and salts. But a vital component is a set of proteins called MUCINS.
MUCINS: These proteins belong to a group of proteins called glycoproteins , built of both amino acids and sugar.
The long chains of sugar are attached to specific amino acids . The hydrophilic sugar chains helps in dissolution of mucin in body’s fluid.
FUNCTION OF MUCINS:
These large molecules are basically essential for giving mucus it’s slippery feel. Also it helps in keeping the mucus hydrated.
Some of these mucins interact with other mucin molecules and form a barrier against pathogens.
IMPORTANCE OF MUCUS:
Mucus keeps out the drying and cracking of delicate tissues . By lubricating the eyes it helps us in blinking them. Mucus also protects our stomach lining from acid. And very importantly it helps in keeping the microbiotia ( the bacterias ) under control.
We can say that mucus acts as a defense against the foreign invaders and keeps the bacteria , dust away from various tracts of body.
PROTECTION AGAINST BIOFILMS:
Many bacterias cluster together to form biofilms. But mucus contains mucins, antimicrobial peptides , antibodies and bacteria eating viruses – bacteriophages which work together against biofilms.
THE END :
Due to this bacterial management we are not sick all the time. Even if we get ill, the production of mucus by our body increases and it fights against the disease causing invaders. During this time some white blood cells are also released in the mucus to enhance the strength of our body .
And at the end Rizzo’s mom tells her that the green color of mucus is due to an enzyme produced by the white blood cells.
After listening to all this Rizzo realises how important is mucus for our bodies.