The function of the goblet cell is to secrete gel forming mucins, which are the major component of mucus.
The goblet cell secretes mucus in two different ways: through basal secretion and stimulated secretion. Basal secretion is the normal level of secretion of mucus, which is accomplished by cytoskeletal movement of secretory granules. Stimulated secretion is secretion that is stimulated by something, like smoke or dust. Other stimuli include bacteria, viruses, and so on.
The goblet cell is important because it protects the main organs of the body from damages by secreting protective mucus.
The majority of a goblet cell’s cytoplasm is occupied by mucinogen granules, except at the bottom, where rough endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, the nucleus, and other organelles are concentrated.
The goblet cell got its name from its goblet-like shape. It is shaped like a cup: wide at the top, and narrow and thin at the bottom.
There are other cells that secrete mucus, but they are not usually called “goblet cells” because they do not have a wide top and a narrow bottom, like a drinking goblet.
Goblet cells can be found in the epithelial lining of organs like the intestinal and respiratory tracts. They are also found inside the bronchus, larger bronchioles in the respiratory tracts, small intestines, conjunctiva in the upper eyelid, the colon, and the trachea.
The three organelles within the cell perform different tasks. Attenuated Microvillus: this is a thin covering over the theca that can stretch over the surface area of the cell. Theca: this is the outer covering, or membrane, covering the cell. Mucus Granules: these are the little bits of mucus that join together inside of the cell.
Goblet cells are incredibly small and don’t take up a lot of space in the body.
The goblet cell creates tear mucus, or the compound you find in the corners of your eyes after you wake up in the mornings or after taking a nap.
Goblet cells can be sensitive and are easily irritated by smoke, dust, and pollen. Even viruses or bacteria have the same effect on goblet cells.
Goblet cells can cause your immune system to become heavily blocked, leading to your body to be unresponsive to antigen in food.
Goblet cells are found between the columnar epithelial cells of the duodenum, and they secrete mucus or slime to lubricate and keep the surface smooth.
Even though the main role of the goblet cell is to secrete mucus to protect the mucosae, they also have a role in immunological oral tolerance.
Oral tolerance is the process by which the immune system is prohibited from responding to antigen that come from food products, as peptides from food may enter the bloodstream from the stomach, which would lead to an immune response. Goblet cells may have a small role in this process and it has been suggested that goblet cells act to preferentially deliver antigen to CD103 cells, which play the key role in oral tolerance.
The goblet cell carcinoid, known as crypt cell carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumor with goblet cell differentiation, is a rare biphasic gastrointestinal tract tumor that has a component similar to goblet cells.