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Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of vertebrates. It is located in various tissues as a long-chain, linear polysaccharide, whereas the numerous chemical and physical characteristics of this component play a major role. It is common that the singular chains achieve a molar mass of many million atomic measurements. Hyaluronic acid is extremely hydrophilic; it has the capacity to bind very large amounts of water (up to six liters of water to one gram of hyaluronic acid). The vitreous of the eye for instance is made up of 98 % of water that is bound to 2 % of hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is the main component of the synovial (joint fluid) and acts as a lubricant during all joint movements. The synovial hyaluronic acid has intrinsically viscous characteristics, meaning that its viscosity changes, moreover decreases in relation to mechanical pressures and at increased shear rate.  Moreover, although it is a fluid, it is viscous enough to remain in the joint and not be pressed out like water, in particular its various chemical interactions make it practically “adhesive” and therefore allow it attach to the smooth surface of the cartilage.