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- Almond, A. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2007) 64: 1591. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-7032-z
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The polysaccharide hyaluronan is an essential component of the vertebrate extracellular matrix and also produced by viruses, bacteria and fungi. Although the hyaluronan polymer is simply a disaccharide that repeats many thousands of times, it has an amazing array of biological functions and medical uses. For example, it is an efficient space filler that maintains hydration, serves as a substrate for assembly of proteoglycans and cellular locomotion, regulates cellular function and development, and is involved in tumor progression, inflammation and wound healing. Its physical properties and biocompatibility also make it of considerable importance in the development of engineered tissue, biomaterials and in clinical applications.