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The importance of hyaluron acid in cartillage

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The importance of hyaluron acid in cartillage

Postby WouterVS » Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:29 am

Hey all,

I'm new to this forum, but I've been checking out regularly for the last year now.

I'm currently in my second bachelor year of Biology at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

This wednesday I've got my test on vertebrate cell biology and anatomy coming up.

Now I'm wondering, what's the concrete importance of hyaluron acid in cartillage.

My guess is that the acid facilitates the absorption of water in the cartillage, and it has something to do with that.

A fellow student and myself were thinking, since cartillage is avascular and thus has to be suplied with nutrients by diffusion, water will play an important role in the permeability of the cartillage for these essential nutrients.
Another possibility is that the water in the matrix would make the cartillage less rigid and thus suitable to be placed at the joints of the skeleton.

I'm not sure yet, but I'm sure some of you can help me out here.

Thanks.

Wouter
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Postby sdekivit » Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:19 pm

it's absolutely true that the function is to 'catch' water in the cartillage. Cartillage is a tissue that is resistent to compressing pressure.

---> hyaluronic acid is a proteoglycan that is very hydrophilic and thus attacheswater: the cartillage tissue will swell and thus will be resitent to compressing.

Also, as you told, it makes free diffusion of nutrients available in the cartillage tissue.
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Postby WouterVS » Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:04 pm

Thanks for confirming.

It feels good to find something like this out.
The mechanism in how the water within the cartillage takes up pressure was also explained in the magnificent book: 'Functional anatomy of Vertebrates' by Liem, Bemis, Walker and Grande.
However, it doesn't say anything about the diffusionprocess. Still, it would just be logical that a watery 'environment' is necessary for this process.
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