Published November 1, 1979 - More info
We have developed a double-antibody radioimmunoassay for the quantitative measurement of human goblet cell mucin (GCM) in order to study intestinal mucus in human and other species. The assay used 3H-labeled mucin as the antigen, rabbit antisera, and sheep anti-rabbit IgG antisera as the second antibody. A number of applications of the assay were investigated. A survey of human tissues revealed that mucins of the rectum, colon, and small intestine had identical affinity for the rabbit antibody, whereas lung eyelid conjunctiva, esophagus, and stomach reacted less strongly. GCM concentration ranged from 1.9 to 14 microgram mucin protein/mg tissue protein in the small and large intestine, respectively. The radioimmunoassay was also found to be useful as a marker during the isolation of GCM from human ileal extracts, where it indicated that a 10,000-fold purification had been achieved. Antigenic determinants of the mucin did not rely upon ABH blood group-specific terminal sugars in oligosaccharide chains. A comparison of mucins among various species revealed a partial species specificity of the GCM antibody. Human GCM cross-reacted with dog, monkey, and rabbit mucins, but not with mucins of rat, pig, toad, and oyster. Organ distributions of cross-reactive mucins in rabbit tissues indicated a pattern that was qualitatively similar to that seen in human tissues. Possible implications of these findings for autoimmune diseases are briefly discussed.