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Relationship Between Lymph And Tissue Hyaluronan In Skin And Skeletal Muscle

Shayn E. Armstrong, Donald R. Bell

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The size of hyaluronan was compared between tissue and lymph using a combination of agarose gel electrophoresis and radiometric assay. Prenodal lymph was collected from heel skin and the gastrocnemius muscle in anesthetized rabbits. The major fraction of hyaluronan in both tissues had a molecular weight >4 million. Lymph contained primarily low-molecular-weight hyaluronan (<0.79 × 106), which was absent from tissue. Volume loading produced a preferential increase in the flux of low-molecular-weight hyaluronan, indicating that tissue contains a small quantity of mobile, low-molecular-weight hyaluronan. The maximum daily removal of hyaluronan by lymph was <1% of the tissue content. The amount of lysosomal hyaluronidase activity in tissue was more than enough to account for a rapid turnover of hyaluronan. The data support the conclusion that lymph drainage is not significant in the normal catabolism of hyaluronan and may represent a small amount that becomes detached from the pericellular and extracellular matrixes.