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Hyaluronic acid (HA) plays a vital role in the extracellular matrix of neural tissues. Originally thought to hydrate tissues and provide mechanical support, it is now clear that HA is also a complex signaling molecule that can regulate cell processes in the developing and adult nervous systems. Signaling properties are determined by molecular weight, bound proteins, and signal transduction through specific receptors. HA signaling regulates processes such as proliferation, differentiation, migration, and process extension in a variety of cell types including neural stem cells, neurons, astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocyte progenitors. The synthesis and catabolism of HA and the expression of HA receptors are altered in disease and influence neuroinflammation and disease pathogenesis. This review discusses the roles of HA, its synthesis and breakdown, as well as receptor expression in neurodevelopment, nervous system function and disease.


Alec Peters, Larry S Sherman. Diverse Roles for Hyaluronan and Hyaluronan Receptors in the Developing and Adult Nervous System. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Aug 20;21(17)

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PMID: 32825309

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