The colonic mucus gel layer (MGL) is a critical component of the innate immune system acting as a physical barrier to microbes, luminal insults, and toxins. Mucins are the major component of the MGL. Selected microbes have the potential to interact with, bind to, and metabolize mucins. The tolerance of the host to the presence of these microbes is critical to maintaining MGL homeostasis. In disease states such as ulcerative colitis (UC), both the mucosa associated microbes and the constituent MGL mucins have been shown to be altered. Evidence is accumulating that implicates the potential for mucin degrading bacteria to negatively impact the MGL and its stasis. These effects appear more pronounced in UC. This review is focused on the host-microbiome interactions within the setting of the MGL. Special focus is given to the mucolytic potential of microbes and their interactions in the setting of the colitic colon.
University College Dublin ->