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Pursuing intracellular pathogens with Hyaluronan. From a ‘Pro-Infection’ polymer to a biomaterial for ‘Trojan Horse’ systems

Montanari, Elita; Di Meo, Chiara; Oates, Angela; Coviello, Tommasina; Matricardi, Pietro


Elita Montanari

Chiara Di Meo

Angela Oates

Tommasina Coviello

Pietro Matricardi


Hyaluronan (HA) is among the most important bioactive polymers in mammals, playing a key role in a number of biological functions. In the last decades, it has been increasingly studied as a biomaterial for drug delivery systems, thanks to its physico-chemical features and ability to target and enter certain cells. The most important receptor of HA is ‘Cluster of Differentiation 44’ (CD44), a cell surface glycoprotein over-expressed by a number of cancers and heavily involved in HA endocytosis. Moreover, CD44 is highly expressed by keratinocytes, activated macrophages and fibroblasts, all of which can act as ‘reservoirs’ for intracellular pathogens. Interestingly, both CD44 and HA appear to play a key role for the invasion and persistence of such microorganisms within the cells. As such, HA is increasingly recognised as a potential target for nano-carriers development, to pursuit and target intracellular pathogens, acting as a ‘Trojan Horse’. This review describes the biological relationship between HA, CD44 and the entry and survival of a number of pathogens within the cells and the subsequent development of HA-based nano-carriers for enhancing the intracellular activity of antimicrobials.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 18, 2018
Journal Molecules
Print ISSN 1420-3049
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 939
APA6 Citation Montanari, E., Di Meo, C., Oates, A., Coviello, T., & Matricardi, P. (2018). Pursuing intracellular pathogens with Hyaluronan. From a ‘Pro-Infection’ polymer to a biomaterial for ‘Trojan Horse’ systems. Molecules, 23(4), 939. doi:10.3390/molecules23040939
Keywords Hyaluronan; Intracellular infections; CD44; Nano-carriers; Antimicrobial delivery
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