Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 13, pp 1591–1596


Visions & Reflections (Minireview)

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-007-7032-z

Cite this article as:
Almond, A. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2007) 64: 1591. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-7032-z


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.


Polysaccharide glycosaminoglycan proteoglycan extracellular matrix CD44 tissue engineering tumour arthritis 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of Manchester, Manchester Interdisciplinary BiocentreManchesterUnited Kingdom

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