Hyaluronan is organized into fiber-like structures along migratory pathways in the developing mouse cerebellum

Matrix Biol. 2007 Jun;26(5):348-58. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Feb 14.


Hyaluronan is a free glycosaminoglycan which is abundant in the extracellular matrix of the developing brain. Although not covalently linked to any protein it can act as a backbone molecule forming aggregates with chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans of the lectican family and link proteins. Using neurocan-GFP as a direct histochemical probe we analyzed the distribution and organization of hyaluronan in the developing mouse cerebellum, and related its fine structure to cell types of specified developmental stages. We observed a high affinity of this probe to fiber-like structures in the prospective white matter which are preferentially oriented parallel to the cerebellar cortex during postnatal development suggesting a specially organized form of hyaluronan. In other layers of the cerebellar cortex, the hyaluronan organization seemed to be more diffuse. During the second postnatal week, the overall staining intensity of hyaluronan in the white matter declined but fiber-like structures were still present at the adult stage. This type of hyaluronan organization is different from perineuronal nets e.g. found in deep cerebellar nuclei. Double staining experiments with cell type specific markers indicated that these fiber-like structures are predominantly situated in regions where motile cells such as Pax2-positive inhibitory interneuron precursors and MBP-positive oligodendroglial cells are located. In contrast, more stationary cells such as mature granule cells and Purkinje cells are associated with lower levels of hyaluronan in their environment. Thus, hyaluronan-rich fibers are concentrated at sites where specific neural precursor cell types migrate, and the anisotropic orientation of these fibers suggests that they may support guided neural migration during brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / embryology*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Hyaluronic Acid