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Transport properties of bronchial mucus are investigated by two-stage experimental approach focused on: (a) rheological properties and (b) mass transfer rate through the stagnant layer of solutions of mucus components (mucine, DNA, proteins) and simulated multi-component mucus. Studies were done using thermostated horizontal diffusion cells with sodium cromoglycate and carminic acid as transferred solutes. Rheological properties of tested liquids was studied by a rotational viscometer and a cone-plate rheometer (dynamic method). First part of the studies demonstrated that inter-molecular interactions in these complex liquids influence both rheological and permeability characteristics. Transfer rate is governed not only by mucus composition and concentration but also by hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of transported molecules. Second part was focused on the properties of such a layer in presence of selected nanostructured particles (different nanoclays and graphene oxide) which may be present in lungs after inhalation. It was shown that most of such particles increase visco-elasticity of the mucus and reduce the rate of mass transfer of model drugs. Measured effects may have adverse impact on health, since they will reduce mucociliary clearance in vivo and slow down drug penetration to the bronchial epithelium during inhalation therapy.
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