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Goblet cells are packed full of mucous globules (blue), which they release to provide lubrication and protection to the inner surfaces of the intestine and the respiratory system among others. The mucous globules are condensed inside the goblet cell but expand hugely once they are released, absorbing water within 20 milliseconds. This rapid release occurs in response to lots of different stimuli and allows the mucous to get to work instantly.
- University of Edinburgh