Transmembrane Mucin Response in Conjunctival Epithelial Cells Exposed to Wall Shear Stresses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human conjunctival epithelium cells (HCEC) line the inner surface of the eyelid and cover the sclera and are continuously subjected to wall shear stresses (WSS). The effects of external forces on the conjunctival epithelium are not fully known. The conjunctival epithelium contains stratified squamous cells that synthesize the membrane-spanning mucins MUC1 and MUC16, which play important roles in protecting the ocular surface. Alterations in both gel-forming and membrane-tethered mucins occur in drying ocular surface diseases. The aim of this study was to explore the mechanobiological characteristics of transmembrane mucin secretion and cellular alterations of primary HCEC exposed to airflow-induced WSS perturbations. We exposed the HCEC to a steady WSS of 0.5 dyne/cm2 for durations of 15 and 30 min. Cytoskeletal alterations and MUC1 secretions were studied using immunohistochemically fluorescent staining with specific antibodies. We investigated for the first time an in vitro model of membrane-tethered mucin secretion by HCEC in response to WSS. The exposure of HCEC to WSS increased the polymerization of F-actin, altered the cytoskeletal shape and reduced the secretion of membrane-tethered MUC1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6589
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • F-actin
  • MUC1
  • MUC16
  • mechanobiology
  • membrane-tethered mucins
  • primary human cells
  • steady airflow


Dive into the research topics of 'Transmembrane Mucin Response in Conjunctival Epithelial Cells Exposed to Wall Shear Stresses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this