Mechanobiology of Hyaluronan Synthesis and Interactions

Hyaluronan is a glycosaminoglycan that is present in almost every solid tissue of the body. In cells such as chondrocytes and neurons, hyaluronan interacts with hyalectans, including chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), to form a pericellular matrix or perineuronal net.

Within the synovial joint, the role of hyaluronan is primarily understood as mechanical – both as a lubricant in the joint and a charged aggregate that confers compressive stiffness in cartilage. However, hyaluronan is integral in the wound-healing process and can play both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles. Our group sees the degenerative, post-injury response in the joint as an aberrant wound healing process and therefore seeks to uncover the role of hyaluronan, and particularly the enzymes that synthesize hyaluronan, in injured and inflamed orthopedic tissues.

Interested in joining the lab? Contact Dr. Chan for more information.