Abstract The functional significance of Hyaluronan (HA) present in the cribriform layer of Schlemm's canal is not known. It may contribute to the actual outflow resistance but the relatively inert molecule might also be necessary to prevent adherence of larger molecules to the cribriform network. Thus HA might rather prevent an increase in outflow resistance. It is well known that treatment with Dexamethasone (DM) in a number of patients leads to an increase in intraocular pressure presumably due to an increase in outflow resistance. To clarify whether an imbalance in HA formation might be involved in these changes we have treated confluent cultures of human trabecular cells as well as control cell lines (ciliary muscle cells, scleral fibroblasts) with 500 n MDM for 24 hr or 12 days and have measured HA-synthesis using incorporation assays with 0.05 m D-[6- 3H] Glucosamine hydrochloride. In all six cell lines investigated there was a significant decrease in HA-synthesis following short and long term treatment with DM when compared with the untreated controls. This reaction of trabecular cells to DM treatment is different from the DM effect reported on the synthesis of many other components of the extracellular matrix like fibronectin and elastin which increase after DM treatment. If the DM-effect seen in cell cultures plays a role in vivo decreased formation in HA could result in impaired function of the outflow pathways.