Gastric mucosal barrier


Gastric mucosal barrier

The gastric mucosal barrier is the property of the stomach that allows it to contain acid.

If the barrier is broken, as by acetylsalicylic acid (ASS, aspirin) in acid solution, acid diffuses back into the mucosa where it can cause damage to the stomach itself.

The barrier consists of three protective components [http://hmi.sinclair.edu/module_lesson.asp?ModuleID=10&LessonID=8] . These provide the additional resistance for the mucosal surface of the stomach. The three components include:

* a compact epithelial cell liningCells in the epithelium of the stomach are bound by tight junctions that repel harsh fluids that may injure the stomach lining.

* a special mucus coveringThe mucus covering is derived from mucus secreted by surface epithelial cells and mucosal neck cells. This insoluble mucus forms a protective gel-like coating over the entire surface of the gastric mucosa. The mucus protects the gastric mucosa from autodigestion by e.g. pepsin and from erosion by acids and other caustic materials that are ingested.

* bicarbonate ionsThe bicarbonate ions are secreted by the surface epithelial cells. The bicarbonate ions act to neutralize harsh acids.


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