In the continuity of our scientific reviews about the important roles of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell behavior, we herein present this recent review describing the structure – function relationship of HA.

As an important polysaccharide of ECM, HA plays an important role in cell and tissue hydrodynamics, ion exchange and transportation of different compounds. In various tissues and organs, the role of HA is to maintain the normal water balance, tissue hydration, moisture retention, elasticity and microcirculation. Depending on HA concentration and molecular weight, this biopolymer determines the physiological functions of the cells, tissues and organs, in functions of water-binding, ionic exchange, molecule’s size-dependent diffusion and impermeability towards large molecules and cells. As a consequence, it provides protection from penetration of high molecular weight toxins and microbiological invasions.

Function and activity of HA depends on several key mechanisms (Garantziotis SSavani RC, Matrix Biol. 2019)

In a recent review by Stavros Garantziotis and Rashmin C. Savani (2019), the relationship between the structure and the different functionalities of Hyaluronic acid is described into 4 parts:

1) Physical properties and size-dependency of HA.

2) HA modifications, binding partners, crosslinking patterns and macromolecular structure.  

3) HA metabolism (synthesis and degradation) and microenvironmental regulation.  

4) HA receptor (RHAMM or C168, CD44) engagement and signaling.

Finally they gave a rapid description of the potential application of HA in organ development, injury responses and therapeutic applications.

So if we want to develop a system mimicking the extracellular matrix, the HA is an essential component! This is why we are convinced that to meet the insistent demand for a robust and representative model of the ECM, we have developed our own 3D cell culture BIOMIMESYS® Hydroscaffold technology, based on HA… and other ECM components as well!


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