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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The molecular basis of the hyaluronic acid-mediated stimulation of granulocyte function.

Previous investigations have demonstrated that the function of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) is stimulated by hyaluronic acid (HA). The aim of the present investigation was to study the molecular basis for the effect of HA. HA fragments of m.w. in the range from 792 (tetrasaccharide) to 3,000,000 all stimulated the chemotactic and phagocytic function of PMN. The active concentration ranged from 4 to 64 pmol/liter, irrespective of the molecular size. Further investigations demonstrated that N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (NAGA) was the smallest active fragment of HA. NAGA is one of the components from which HA is built up; the other component glucuronic acid was without effect, and so were the other glycosaminoglycans, N-acetyl-D-mannosamine, N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, and D-glucosamine. Finally, Con A, the glucopyranosyl and glucomannosyl binding lectin, inhibited the stimulatory effect of NAGA. As is the case with HA, fibronectin also acts as a necessary cofactor to NAGA when incubations are made in the absence of whole blood or serum. The present results strongly indicated that the combined action of NAGA and fibronectin worked directly on the PMN by an interaction at the cellular membrane level. We conclude that the stimulatory action of HA on granulocyte functions is mediated through one of its two structural components, i.e., NAGA.[1]


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