Mucus models to evaluate the diffusion of drugs and particles

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Mucus is a complex hydrogel that acts as a natural barrier to drug delivery at different mucosal surfaces including the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and vaginal tracts. To elucidate the role mucus plays in drug delivery, different in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo mucus models and techniques have been utilized. Drug and drug carrier diffusion can be studied using various techniques in either isolated mucus gels or mucus present on cell cultures and tissues. The species, age, and potential disease state of the animal from which mucus is derived can all impact mucus composition and structure, and therefore impact drug and drug carrier diffusion. This review provides an overview of the techniques used to characterize drug and drug carrier diffusion, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the different models available to highlight the information they can afford.Graphical abstract

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