Epidermal hyaluronan in barrier alteration-related disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In skin, although the extracellular matrix (ECM) is highly developed in dermis and hypodermis, discrete intercellular spaces between cells of the living epidermal layers are also filled with ECM components. Herein, we review knowledge about structure, localization and role of epidermal hyaluronan (HA), a key ECM molecule. HA is a non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan non-covalently bound to proteins or lipids. Components of the basal lamina maintain some segregation between the epidermis and the underlying dermis, and all epidermal HA is locally synthesized and degraded. Functions of HA in keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation are still controversial. However, through interactions with partners, such as the TSG-6 protein, HA is involved in the formation, organization and stabilization of the epidermal ECM. In addition, epidermal HA is involved in the formation of an efficient epidermal barrier made of cornified keratinocytes. In atopic dermatitis (AD) with profuse alterations of the epidermal barrier, HA is produced in larger amounts by keratinocytes than in normal skin. Epidermal HA inside AD lesional skin is located in enlarged intercellular spaces, likely as the result of disease-related modifications of HA metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3096
Number of pages18
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Epidermal extracellular matrix
  • Hyaluronan


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