Molecular and Rheological Characterization of Sodium Hyaluronate (HA) and Equine Synovial Fluid
Chief Investigators: Danielle Leiske, Willie E. (Skip) Rochefort of Oregon State University.
This work is ongoing and this project was presented at the Society of Rheology Meeting in Lubbock, Texas in February 2005.
This is an excerpt from the introduction: Sodium hyaluronate (also referred to as hyaluronic acid, or HA) is the largest molecular component of synovial fluid and contributes both viscous (lubricating) and elastic (shock-absorbing) properties that are important in the lubrication of cartilage. Hyaluronate (HA) is a polymer found in all parts of the body but is of particular importance in articular joints. The key to the viscoelastic behavior of synovial fluid is molecular weight and concentration of HA. Hyaluronate’s important role in joint lubrication has made it of particular interest in the biomedical field
Certain types of joint concerns have been attributed to the breakdown of HA in the joint. Although the exact nature of this is not yet fully understood, it has been credited to the presence of deleterious enzymes and radicals. Any decrease in the size of HA molecules will result in a decrease of viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid, which could lead to joint support needs. Viscosupplementation involves either intra-articular or intravenous injections of HA to the joint. Initially this idea was developed to boost the viscoelastic properties of synovial fluid, however it was later realized that HA performs a biochemical role in joints in addition to its well described mechanical role. Nevertheless, the mechanical role of HA in joint fluid is important and worthy of study.
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