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Organogenesis. 2008 Oct;4(4):203-14.

Role of hyaluronan in angiogenesis and its utility to angiogenic tissue engineering.

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Clemson University; Medical University of South Carolina Bioengineering Program; Charleston, South Carolina USA.


Angiogenesis represents the outgrowth of new blood vessels from existing ones, a physiologic process that is vital to supply nourishment to newly forming tissues during development and tissue remodeling and repair (wound healing). Regulation of angiogenesis in the healthy body occurs through a fine balance of angiogenesis-stimulating factors and angiogenesis inhibitors. When this balance is disturbed, excessive or deficient angiogenesis can result and contribute to development of a wide variety of pathological conditions. The therapeutic stimulation or suppression of angiogenesis could be the key to abrogating these diseases. In recent years, tissue engineering has emerged as a promising technology for regenerating tissues or organs that are diseased beyond repair. Among the critical challenges that deter the practical realization of the vision of regenerating functional tissues for clinical implantation, is how tissues of finite size can be regenerated and maintained viable in the long-term. Since the diffusion of nutrients and essential gases to cells, and removal of metabolic wastes is typically limited to a depth of 150-250 microm from a capillary (3-10 cells thick), tissue constructs must mandatorily permit in-growth of a blood capillary network to nourish and sustain the viability of cells within. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the role and significance of hyaluronan (HA), a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) component of connective tissues, in physiologic and pathological angiogenesis, its applicability as a therapeutic to stimulate or suppress angiogenesis in situ within necrotic tissues in vivo, and the factors determining its potential utility as a pro-angiogenic stimulus that will enable tissue engineering of neo-vascularized and functional tissue constructs for clinical use.


angiogenesis; hyaluronan; neo-vascularization; oligosaccharides; regenerative medicine; tissue engineering


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