Hyaluronan and the Fascial Frontier, 2021

Topics: HA; connective tissue; densification; extracellular matrix; fascia; fasciacyte; gliding; hyaluronan; hyaluronic acid; myofascial pain.

Authors: Rebecca L Pratt

Abstract

The buzz about hyaluronan (HA) is real. Whether found in face cream to increase water volume loss and viscoelasticity or injected into the knee to restore the properties of synovial fluid, the impact of HA can be recognized in many disciplines from dermatology to orthopedics. HA is the most abundant polysaccharide of the extracellular matrix of connective tissues. HA can impact cell behavior in specific ways by binding cellular HA receptors, which can influence signals that facilitate cell survival, proliferation, adhesion, as well as migration. Characteristics of HA, such as its abundance in a variety of tissues and its responsiveness to chemical, mechanical and hormonal modifications, has made HA an attractive molecule for a wide range of applications. Despite being discovered over 80 years ago, its properties within the world of fascia have only recently received attention. Our fascial system penetrates and envelopes all organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibers, providing the body with a functional structure and an environment that enables all bodily systems to operate in an integrated manner. Recognized interactions between cells and their HA-rich extracellular microenvironment support the importance of studying the relationship between HA and the body’s fascial system. From fasciacytes to chronic pain, this review aims to highlight the connections between HA and fascial health.

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