7 junio, 2024

Mucin filaments: what they are, causes, associated diseases

What are mucin filaments?

The mucin filaments they are very fine threads of a protein present in salivary and mucous secretions. The appearance of the mucin is like a gelatinous mucus that acts as a lubricant and protector in the reproductive, digestive, urinary and excretory systems.

The epithelial glands that, among other functions and together with keratin, protect the body through the skin, are also responsible for producing microproteins, including mucin.

The appearance of mucin filaments in the urine is not always a sign of disease or serious disorders in the body. Generally, it is a natural contamination that occurs when passing through areas of the body with a high production of mucus.

However, when its presence is noticed in a much smaller proportion, it expresses alterations that must be treated by the doctor. In any case, in the event of the appearance of mucin filaments, it is advisable to repeat the urine test with a new uncontaminated sample to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Mucin filaments in the urine

The presence of mucin filaments in the urine may be scant, moderate, or copious. In all cases, it is important to check if it is a contamination of the urine at the time of taking the sample or if the mucus comes from one of the body systems.

On occasions, when the presence of mucin is moderate, in the case of men, it may be mucus secreted by the prostate or paraurethral glands.

An abundant presence of mucin filaments in the urine could indicate the presence of a greater alteration, especially when it is accompanied by leukocytes and nitrites, or by blood.

What do the mucin filaments indicate?

Although the mucin filaments in the urine may only mean contamination at the time of taking the sample, they can also be the sign of some complications.

Some patients may experience symptoms such as pain and discomfort when urinating, abdominal pain, discomfort during intercourse, or fever. To this can be added that in the laboratory no smell of urine is detected.

Causes of the appearance of mucus in the urine

The appearance of mucin filaments in the urine is often normal, especially in women. Urine is produced in the kidneys and its function is to discard, through the urinary tract, some toxins from the body.

However, as it passes through the urinary system of men and women, it can become contaminated with mucin, which in the case of women is produced mainly during the ovulation period, and in the case of men it can be released from the urethra or from the walls of the bladder.

One cause of the presence of mucin filaments in the urine may be a urinary infection. In this case, the result of the urine test will show the presence of leukocytes and nitrites.

A urinary infection is caused by a bacterium that invades the genital area. Initially, it occurs in the walls of the bladder and extends to the kidneys, and throughout its expansion, a large amount of mucin is produced.

This infection is very frequent in pregnant women, in whom the presence of mucin filaments is frequently evident.

Associated diseases

An important cause of mucin production is suffering from irritable bowel syndrome: inflammation of the colon walls produces a large amount of mucus that can be expelled through urine.
Ulcerative colitis may be another cause of evidence of mucin filaments in the urine. It consists of the production of ulcers inside the intestine that become inflamed producing a large amount of mucin, the fluids of the excretory system can easily contaminate the urine when fulfilling its function.
Sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, inflame the interior walls of the reproductive system, and the mucus produced by this effect reaches the urine through the urinary tract.
The presence of a urinary tract obstruction, generally due to kidney stones, causes inflammation of the urinary system and thus a large amount of mucin that leaves the body through the urine.
Although in a very low proportion, the presence of mucin filaments in the urine can be a sign of bladder cancer if it is accompanied, among other signs, by blood samples, pelvic pain, and painful urination.

How is the presence of mucin filaments in urine detected?

Once the urine sample, which must be taken in the morning and fasting, arrives at the laboratory, it is passed through the centrifuge machine to obtain urinary sediment. When this is observed under the microscope it is possible to identify the mucin filaments.

The mucin in the urine can appear in the form of filaments or corpuscles. The filaments can appear in the form of threads, but also grouped in a kind of tissue that sometimes appears hard and white.

It is also possible to find them in the form of a corpuscle, a kind of structure with a mucous appearance.

How are mucin filaments removed?

To reduce the presence of mucin filaments in the urine, the cause that produces them must be treated, considering the associated symptoms. When the presence of mucin filaments stems from a urinary infection, antibiotic therapy is prescribed.

If the cause is an alteration of the digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis, it is generally treated with antispasmodics, antidiarrheals and probiotics,

In all cases, doctors recommend increasing water consumption to a measure of 12 glasses a day and improving body hygiene.

It is also recommended to drink a lot of cranberry juice, yogurt with honey and avoid some dairy products that promote inflammation of the mucous membranes.

References

Johansson, ME, Phillipson, M., Petersson, J., Velcich, A., Holm, L., & Hansson, GC (2008). The inner of the two Muc2 mucin-dependent mucus layers in colon is devoid of bacteria. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences.
Gendler, SJ, & Spicer, A.P. (1995). Epithelial mucin genes. Annual review of physiology.

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