Hyaluronan (HA) plays well-recognized mechanical and biological roles in articular cartilage and synovial fluid, where it contributes to tissue structure and lubrication. An understanding of how HA contributes to the structure of other musculoskeletal tissues, including muscle, bone, tendon, and intervertebral discs, is growing. In addition, the use of HA-based therapies to restore damaged tissue is becoming more prevalent. Nevertheless, the relationship between biomechanical stimuli and HA synthesis, degradation, and signaling in musculoskeletal tissues remains understudied, limiting the utility of HA in regenerative medicine. In this review, we discuss the various roles and significance of endogenous HA in musculoskeletal tissues. We use what is known and unknown to motivate new lines of inquiry into HA biology within musculoskeletal tissues and in the mechanobiology governing HA metabolism, by suggesting questions that remain regarding the relationship and interaction between biological and mechanical roles of HA in musculoskeletal health and disease.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 26 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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