Mucociliary Escalator


The mucociliary escalator covers most of the bronchi, bronchioles and nose. It is composed of two basic parts;
1. the mucus-producing goblet cells
2. the ciliated epithelium.

The cilia are continually beating, pushing mucus up and out into the throat. The mucociliary escalator is a major barrier against infection. Microorganisms hoping to infect the respiratory tract are caught in the sticky mucus and moved up by the mucociliary escalator. Note how our purple invader has been trapped in the mucus and is being pushed upward towards the throat.

Smoking seems to paralzye the cilia of the mucociliary escalator. How would this paralysis of the cilia affect the susceptibility of the respiratory tract to infection?

If you were an invader, how might you prevent yourself from being swept upwards to the throat by the mucociliary escalator?


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