Microrheology of hyaluronan solutions: Implications for the endothelial glycocalyx

Nadja Nijenhuis, Daisuke Mizuno, Christoph F. Schmidt, Hans Vink, Jos A.E. Spaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The endothelial glycocalyx (EG) is a complex biopolymer network produced by vascular endothelial cells that forms a layer with multiple functions at the luminal side of blood vessels. The EG acts as an anti-adhesive protection layer, as a molecular sieve, as a chemical sensor site, and as a mechanotransducer of fluid shear stress to the underlying cell layer. A major component involved in these processes is the highly hydrated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) hyaluronan (HA). Here we used laser interferometry to measure the broadband mechanical response of reconstituted HA solutions at close to physiological conditions. HA showed rheological behavior consistent with that of a flexible polymer. The elastic behavior observed for entangled HA networks showed reptational relaxation with a large distribution of time scales, which disappeared quickly (15 min) with the addition of hyaluronidase (HAase). We conclude that the broadband mechanical probing of model systems (HA solutions) provides quantitative data that are crucial to understand the mechanical response of the EG in vivo and its role in mechanosensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2390-2398
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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