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January 17, 2007


Question from India:

Mucus can be of many types, thick or thin, sweet, somewhat salty or very salty, different colored, etc. It can be secreted abnormally. It has a role in the immune response, in inflammatory and infectious conditions. Its quality and quantity in intestines may be having some effects on absorption. During active transport, sugar is co-transported with sodium. Mucus may also impair normal function of pancreas. Since diabetes may be related to inflammatory/infectious conditions and abnormalities in glucose transport, is abnormal mucus, in type and in quantity, related to diabetes and insulin resistance?


The only area of study where I know that secretions make a difference is in cystic fibrosis where there is thought to be damage to endocrine cells as the result of being next to exocrine cells that produce a thick secretion that cannot be cleared. This leads to episodes of pancreatic exocrine destruction that “spills over” into the endocrine pancreas. In almost all cases of recurrent inflammatory pancreatic disease where the exocrine and endocrine pancreas are involved, the exocrine pancreas fails before the endocrine pancreas.