CYSTIC FIBROSIS is sometimes called "mucoviscidosis," which implies that the basic defect is an abnormality of the mucus. Abnormal viscosity of pulmonary mucus secretions is considered to be the cause of the tendency to bronchial infection. Mucus secretions of other organs show evidence of abnormality. An example of this is the histological appearance of rectal mucus glands, as demonstrated by Parkins et al.1
The present study was undertaken to determine whether the supposedly abnormal mucus in cystic fibrosis has a detectable alteration of the sugar components of the mucoprotein. Rectal mucus seemed favorable for investigation because it could be obtained with relative ease and in an uncontaminated form, ie, free of other secretions and of exudate.
Elevated ratios of fucose to sialic acid have been reported in mucoprotein from sweat, urine, and gastric mucus of cystic fibrosis patients.2-4 An elevated ratio of fucose to hexosamine has been noted