Biotech Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring biopolymer that was first isolated from the vitreous body of cows’ eyes in 1934 in the laboratory of Karl Meyer. They found that the substance contained an uronic acid and an aminosugar, and named the polysaccharide “hyaluronic acid” from hyaloid (vitreous) + uronic acid.
However, the first medical application only occurred twenty years later, during eye surgery in the late 1950s and nowadays hyaluronic acid is used in a variety of medical conditions.
From a chemical perspective, hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of glucuronic acid and glucosamine in a polysaccharide of varying lengths and molecular weights. It is naturally synthesized by a class of integral membrane proteins called hyaluronan synthases, and degraded by a family of enzymes called hyaluronidases.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the human body.
In humans, hyaluronic acid is most abundant in the skin, accounting for 50% of the total body hyaluronic acid, the vitreous of the eye, the umbilical cord, and synovial fluid, but it is also present in all tissues and fluids of the body, such as skeletal tissues, heart valves, the lung, the aorta, etc.
It is calculated that the average 70 kg (154 lb) person has roughly 15 grams of hyaluronan in the body, one-third of which is turned over (degraded and synthesized) every day.
Hyaluronic acid has key biological functions in the body which includes:
- maintenance of the elastoviscosity of liquid connective tissues such as joint synovial and eye vitreous fluid;
- control of tissue hydration and water transport;
- supramolecular assembly of proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix;
- numerous receptor-mediated roles in cell detachment, mitosis, migration and inflammation.
Hyaluronic acid is used in a variety of indications and clinical conditions.
Thanks to the unique viscoelastic nature of hyaluronic acid and its its biocompatibility and non-immunogenicity it is employed in a number of clinical applications.
The use of hyaluronic acid is wide, such as in the following areas:
- Wound care
- Cosmetic/Aesthetic Filler
- Cardiovascular application
- Drug deliver systems
- As scaffold material in skin substitute
In the developed medical devices hyaluronic acid is clinically employed in:
Osteoarthritis: as pre-filled syringe of different concentrations of hyaluronic acid (1.6% or 2.0%) alone or in combination with strong antioxidant patented substances;
Wound care: as sterile dressing and as spray/cream in combination with colostrum; as mucoadhesive gel for ano-rectal disturbances;
Ophthalmology: as spray on eyelids in combination with phospholipids, vitamins and plant extracts.
Not all hyaluronic acid preparations are the same. Quality really matters!
In the developed medical devices, the employed hyaluronic acid has two major characteristics:
- Origin: top-quality EU biotech source;
- Molecular Weight: high molecular weight (> 1 mio Da).
In terms of origin, the employed hyaluronic acid is produced from bacterial fermentation of natural Streptococcus. It is safe with non-GMO strain, no animal derivative such as rooster combs.
With hyaluronic acid molecular weight is an important quality parameter, as it defines its rheological properties, affects physiological response, retention time and tolerability profile of the preparation. Generally hyaluronic acid with a high molecular weight (greater than 1mioDa) like the one employed in the medical devices has good viscoelasticity, retention, and mucoadhesion, all qualities that are essential in the areas of ophthalmology, orthopaedics, wound healing, and cosmetics.
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