Hyaluronan, a Ready Choice to Fuel Regeneration: A Mini-Review.

Reitinger S, Lepperdinger G.

Gerontology. 2012 Sep 22. (accepted MS)

Abstract

Background: Hyaluronan (HA) is present in extracellular spaces and interstitia of many tissue types. As it is capable of binding high amounts of water, HA provides ideal conditions for cell migration and proliferation. Under conditions of cellular crowding, it also permits lineage-specific differentiation and thus promotes many aspects of healing and tissue remodeling. Methods: The simplicity of its structure makes it amenable to chemical modifications and/or combined formulations with other bioactive substances. Thus a wide variety of clinical applications have been proposed, several of which are currently being implemented in advanced therapies. Results: Known features of HA biology, in particular regarding synthesis and processes related to signaling and control, have been adopted to elaborate specific products in order to support progress in regenerative medicine. Purified HA, HA-based hydrogels or special HA composites have been formulated together with other well-characterized biomaterials and bioactive factors. HA is currently employed in a variety of therapeutic applications both in its pure form and in a biofunctionalized form. Conclusions: HA plays an essential role in regenerative processes. Owing to the growing scientific knowledge in this field, medicinal products based on HA have been devised and are being routinely applied in ophthalmology or in trauma and transplantation surgery. Further areas of application are contemplated, such as the use of HA composite scaffold material in tissue engineering, or refined HA hydrogels enabling controlled release of medication.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.