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Electrodiffusion-Mediated Swelling of a Two-Phase Gel Model of Gastric Mucus

Department of Mathematics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510, USA
Departments of Mathematics and Bioengineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyelectrolyte Gels)
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Gastric mucus gel is known to exhibit dramatic and unique swelling behaviors in response to the ionic composition of the hydrating solution. This swelling behavior is important in the maintenance of the mucus layer lining the stomach wall, as the layer is constantly digested by enzymes in the lumen, and must be replenished by new mucus that swells as it is secreted from the gastric wall. One hypothesis suggests that the condensed state of mucus at secretion is maintained by transient bonds with calcium that form crosslinks. These crosslinks are lost as monovalent cations from the environment displace divalent crosslinkers, leading to a dramatic change in the energy of the gel and inducing the swelling behavior. Previous modeling work has characterized the equilibrium behavior of polyelectrolyte gels that respond to calcium crosslinking. Here, we present an investigation of the dynamic swelling behavior of a polyelectrolytic gel model of mucus. In particular, we quantified the rate at which a globule of initially crosslinked gel swells when exposed to an ionic bath. The dependence of this swelling rate on several parameters was characterized. We observed that swelling rate has a non-monotone dependence on the molarity of the bath solution, with moderate concentrations of available sodium inducing the fastest swelling. View Full-Text
Keywords: polyelectrolyte gel; mathematical model; gel swelling polyelectrolyte gel; mathematical model; gel swelling

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lewis, O.L.; Keener, J.P.; Fogelson, A.L. Electrodiffusion-Mediated Swelling of a Two-Phase Gel Model of Gastric Mucus. Gels 2018, 4, 76.

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