Mucociliary Escalator

Mucociliary Escalator: A mechanism by which mucous is propelled towards the nose and eliminated by coughing or sneezing. Cilia on the surface of the specialized airway epithelial cells form a thick carpet of fibers that beat in unison and create wave like movement of a fluid layer that covers the inside surface of the airway tube. Consequently, the mucous that sits atop this "pericellular" fluid layer is propelled towards the nose like "mucous surfboards", carrying their cargo of inhaled microbes and particulates out of the lungs.


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  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ rld/ Learn-More/ Glossary

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