2012 年 132 巻 6 号 p. 699-704
Human bronchial mucins, such as MUC5AC, have traditionally been defined as a family of high-molecular weight glycoproteins. Changes in the contents of sugar chains on MUC5AC are among the fundamental features in inflammatory respiratory disease. The changes have been shown to lead to unfavorable alterations in the viscosity of mucus, resulting in impairment of mucociliary transport, vulnerability to viral/bacterial infection as sugar chains play an important role in adhesion of some viruses and bacteria to the epithelium, and finally inflammatory cell infiltration in the airway. Recently, we found that expression of some glycosyltransferases associated with the contents and structure of sugar chains is regulated by phosphatidylinositol-phospholipase (PI-PL) C signaling in cells. L-Carbocisteine, a mucoregulatory drug, normalized or balanced fucosylated and sialylated sugar chains, such as sialyl Lewis x through inhibition of PI-PL C signaling. We prepared MUC5AC fusion protein with tandem repeats associated with MUC5AC, and confirmed that L-carbocisteine inhibited the increases in viscosity associated with sialyl Lewis x expression levels. In addition, the clinical study (2008) noted that L-carbocisteine reduced the frequency of common colds and exacerbation of symptoms in patients with COPD. These favorable effects in patients may be due to normalization of sugar chain contents on mucins. We suggest that the inhibitory effect on infection of airway epithelial cells by rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, and influenza viruses by treatment with L-carbocisteine may also be based on the regulation of sugar chain contents or structures on mucins.