University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Investigation of Biophysical Properties of Airway Submucosal Gland Mucus in Cystic Fibrosis
Airway mucus secretion is an important defense to protect airways from inhaled particles and pathogens. Airway epithelium and submucosal glands (SMGs) are the source of the mucus. In chronic lung diseases, the volume of SMGs increases, resulting in mucus-obstruction and productive cough. We hypothesize that in chronic lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF), mucus secreted from submucosal glands is more concentrated than normal, stickier, and more difficult to cough up, which results in poor mucus clearance. To test our hypothesis, we will measure some important biophysical properties (like stickiness and concentration) of SMG mucus collected from non-CF and CF airways. Then, we will investigate the effect of some potential drugs to restore the CF SMG mucus to normal by their ability to change these properties. We believe that the results obtained from the proposed research will be an important step to reduce chronic respiratory symptoms associated with mucus and cough.