Hyaluronic Acid (also known as HA or Hyalyronan) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan that is anionic and non-sulfated. This glycosaminoglycan is found throughout the tissues, such as the neural, epithelial and connective. As it forms within plasma membranes, becomes incredibly large reaching the millions in molecular weight. This is the one of the extracellular matrixes primary components. Hyaluronic Acid is a major contributor in many biological functions. This includes proliferation and migration of cells.
Hyaluronic Acid Physiological Function
The Hyaluronic Acid molecule is a ubiquitous carbohydrate molecule. It serves as a component for many of the body’s lubricating fluids, lending to former nickname as the “goo” molecule prior to the 1970s. It is a contributing factor to the increase of a fluids viscosity.
Hyaluronic Acid molecules becomes a highly negative charged aggregate when it binds to aggrecan monomers, such as cartilage. This makes it makes it capable of drawing in and holding water molecules. It is the key factor that promotes cartilage resilience.
Molecules of Hyaluronic Acid also lubricate connective muscle tissues. This is notably so with fibroblast, a dense facial tissue that improves elasticity. It is vital to the biosynthesis of a rich hyaluronan matrix.
In the skin, Hyaluronic Acid is a major component that aids in repairing dermal tissue. Hyaluronan production is halted when the skin becomes inflamed. Most often, this occurs from excessive UVB ray exposures that cause sunburns.
Uses of Hyaluronic Acid:
• Wound Repair – Mediates cellular and matrix events
• Inflammation – Triggers inflammation to initiate healing process
• Granulation – Promotes clotting fibrous connective tissues
• Cell Migration – Directs cell movement and specialization
• Skin Healing – Maintains skin hydration, passage of nutrients and protection
Medical And Cosmetic Use of Hyaluronic Acid
Although a naturally occurring molecule, Hyaluronic Acid is also obtained for various uses. HA is used in a the medical and cosmetic industry for various benefits.
In medicine, it has been used to treat knee osteoarthritis. Injections are used that are implemented directly into the knew of the afflicted area. Despite its practice, proven evidence of its effectiveness is yet to be produced and also holds the potential of severe adverse effects. It is also used to treat atopic dermatitis (dry, scaly skin). Treatment is provided by applying lotions with the active ingredient being Hyaluronic Acid. In addition, it is utilized in treating dry eyes by creating artificial tears.
The cosmetic industry greatly utilizes the ingredient, being a very common inclusion in many skin care products. Cosmetic surgeries utilize HA for its dermal filling capabilities using hypodermic needle or cannula injecting tools. However, cosmetic injection does have the potential of adverse and irreversible side effects, such as Granulomatous reactions. This practice can also sever blood vessels and nerves, cause bruising and pain.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Effective?
Hyaluronic Acid effectiveness ranges depending on a variety of factors. It depends on quality, potency and usage. Also, it is further dependent on the individual’s physiology. That said, some formulations available have been FDA approved. It has a high biocompatibility making it extremely popular for research in biomaterial scaffolding and tissue engineering.