Hyaluronic acid – size matters!
Hyaluronic acid (HA), or hyaluronan, is an ubiquitous, very high molecular mass polysaccharide that has applications in a variety of fields, including cosmetics, some types of surgery (e.g. opthalmic) and regenerative medicine. It can even be present as a contaminant in some bio-production processes. HA has also been suggested as a possible biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
HA acts as a molecular shock-absorber and stabilizer for cells. Its visco-elastic properties, biologically speaking, are valuable for separating tissue and maintaining shape. It is a key in tissue lubrication, and it may play a role in wound repair. It is the ideal choice for some implants, as it does not usually cause an immune response (contrary to what may happen with some biomaterials). Size of the HA used in therapy has an impact on its success. Usually, higher weight forms usually render longer benefits. For bio-production, however, smaller HA forms are usually the main concern.
So, depending on the reason why you are studying this marker, keep size in mind in order to choose the best assay to measure the HA levels in your experimental model. It is of key importance that whatever product you use, analysis of the HA sizes detected with it are clearly mentioned in the technical documentation.
A post by my colleague Dr. Philippe Fixe is of great help for choosing the right assay!
It’s not that these assays will allow you to discriminate between high- and low-weight HA. What is intended here is that these assays will allow you to detect all or part of the HA forms depending on its weight. And that may be crucial, as you may be using the assay that does not detect the HA sizes relevant for your experiment.
It is also possible now to outsource HA measurements to an external lab performing regularly validated Hyaluronic acid-specific immuno-assays. As an example, Echelon’s Competitive or Sandwich HA ELISAs outsourcing by tebu-bio’s lab in cosmetology or drug discovery.
Any comments? Feel free to share them below!