PFG-NMR diffusometry: a tool for investigating the structure and dynamics of noncommercial purified pig gastric mucin in a wide range of concentrations

G LafitteJ R Davies


For the first time, Pulsed Field Gradient-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, a powerful noninvasive tool for studying the dynamics and structure of complex gels, has been used to measure diffusion of probe molecules in aqueous solutions/gels of noncommercial purified pig gastric mucin (PGM), in a concentration range up to 5 wt %. Complementary data were obtained from rheology measurements. The combination of techniques revealed a strong pH dependency of the structure of the PGM samples while changes in concentration, ionic strength, and temperature appeared to induce less pronounced alterations. Viscosity was found to vary in a nonmonotonous way with pH, with the more viscous solutions found at intermediate pH. We propose that this finding is due to a reduced charge density at lower pH, which is expected to continuously increase the relative importance of hydrophobic associations. The results suggest a loose network of expanded fully charged PGM molecules with considerable mobility at neutral pH (pH 7.4). At intermediate pH (pH 4), a three-dimensional expanded network is favored. At pH 1, the charge density is low and microphase separation occurs since hydrophobic associations prevail. This leads to the formation of clusters concentra...Continue Reading


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