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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Secretory Functions of the Alimentary Tract

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Surface Mucous Cells

The entire surface of the stomach mucosa between glands has a continuous layer of a special type of mucous cells called simply “surface mucous cells.”

Surface Mucous Cells

The entire surface of the stomach mucosa between glands has a continuous layer of a special type of mucous cells called simply “surface mucous cells.” They secrete large quantities of a very viscid mucus that coats the stomach mucosa with a gel layer of mucus often more than 1 millimeter thick, thus providing a major shell of protection for the stomach wall as well as contributing to lubrication of food transport.

Another characteristic of this mucus is that it is alka-line. Therefore, the normal underlying stomach wall isnot directly exposed to the highly acidic, proteolytic stomach secretion. Even the slightest contact with food or any irritation of the mucosa directly stimulates the surface mucous cells to secrete additional quanti-ties of this thick, alkaline, viscid mucus.

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