Developmental expression of mucin genes in the human respiratory tract.
Reid CJ., Gould S., Harris A.
Mucin glycoproteins play a key role in the normal function of the airway epithelium. We examined the expression of mucin genes, MUC3, 4, 5AC, 5B, 6, 7, and 8 in human fetal tissues to establish the localization and age of onset of expression of each mucin gene during human development. We detected expression of MUC4, 5AC, 5B, and 7 in the mid-trimester airway epithelium but did not detect expression of MUC3, 6, or 8. MUC4 was expressed in the trachea and large airways in the majority of cells in the airway epithelium. Expression of MUC5AC was only seen in individual goblet cells in the trachea, while MUC5B was expressed in the surface epithelium of the trachea at 13 wk but was largely restricted to submucosal glands by 23 wk of gestation.