Diverse roles for hyaluronan and hyaluronan receptors in the developing and adult nervous system

Alec Peters, Larry S. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5988
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Hyaluronan
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Nervous system
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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