The effects of xylosyl-beta-D-(4-methylumbelliferone) and its aglycone, 4-methylumbelliferone, on hyaluronic acid synthesis were investigated in cultured human skin fibroblasts. Xylosyl-beta-D-(4-methylumbelliferone) added to the medium of cultured cell reduced the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Furthermore, 4-methylumbelliferone reduced the production of hyaluronic acid markedly. In addition, 4-methylumbelliferone had hardly any effect on proteoglycan synthesis, whereas xylosyl-beta-D-(4-methylumbelliferone) produced a large amount of glycosaminoglycan chains. The present results indicate that cells cultured with 4-methylumbelliferone produce a hyaluronic-acid-deficient extracellular matrix, which will be useful for functional studies of hyaluronic acid.