Hyaluronan is a polysaccharide, which is ubiquitous in vertebrates and has been reported to be strongly hydrated in a biological environment. We study the hydration of hyaluronan in solution using the rotational dynamics of water as a probe. We measure these dynamics with polarization-resolved femtosecond-infrared and terahertz time-domain spectroscopies. Both experiments reveal that a subensemble of water molecules is slowed down in aqueous solutions of hyaluronan amounting to similar to 15 water molecules per disaccharide unit. This quantity is consistent with what would be expected for the first hydration shell. Comparison of these results to the water dynamics in aqueous dextran solution, a structurally similar polysaccharide, yields remarkably similar results. This suggests that the observed interaction with water is a common feature for hydrophilic polysaccharides and is not specific to hyaluronan.

Elsevier/ Cell Press
Biophys. J.
Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Hunger, J., Bernecker, A., Bakker, H., Bonn, M., & Richter, R. (2012). Hydration dynamics of hyaluronan and dextran. Biophys. J., 103(1), 10–12. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.05.028