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Gel mechanics and electrodiffusion: Maintenance of the gastric mucus layer

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Owen Lewis, University of Utah
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Apr 23 2018, 3:10PM

The gastric mucus is a complex gel-like layer of various proteins and solutes coating the epithelial surface of the stomach. This layer is widely recognized to serve a protective function, shielding the epithelium and the rest of the gastric mucosa from the extremely low pH and digestive enzymes present in the stomach lumen. However, there is still a lack of consensus on the mechanism by which the mucus layer hinders lumen-to-wall transport while allowing acid and enzymes secreted from the mucosa unimpeded transport to the lumen. Furthermore, it is not clear how a stable mucus layer is maintained in the face of enzymatic degradation in the lumen. In this talk, we develop a description of the gastric mucus layer using a two-phase gel model and the equations of electrodiffusion. This model allows us to investigate the behavior of the mucus layer and test physiological hypotheses which are not yet experimentally verified.