Hyaluronan (Hyaluronic Acid) an Effective Treatment of Chronic Lung Disease

What is hyaluronan?

Hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar secreted by living tissue. It acts as a scaffold for the cells. The largest amounts of hyaluronan are found in the skin, connective tissue, and eyes. Its main function is to retain water to keep tissues well lubricated and moist.

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Lung X-Ray

Lung X-Ray

Functions

  • It is used in cosmetics as a skin moisturizer.
  • It can be used as a nasal spray to moisturize lung airways.
  • It also plays a key role in wound healing by regulating inflammation and signaling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area.
  • It helps to relieve joint pain by keeping bones well lubricated.
  • It may help reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Hyaluronic acid is excellent at retaining moisture, hence it can often be used to treat dry eyes.
    It can relieve bladder pain when inserted directly into the bladder through a catheter.

Hyaluronan in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Inhaled hyaluronan induces a significant increase in bronchial patency as well as progressive lung deflation. It also decreases the residual volume of air that remains in the lungs after normal breathing. This helps patients to breathe more easily.

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In patients with COPD, hyaluronan shortened the time patients spent in intensive care under breathing support. It also decreased their duration of stay in the hospital, and hence helped to save money by reducing their overall hospital stay.

Inhaled Hyaluronan is supposed to be a stimulating aid for patients with exacerbated COPD, as it is safe and easy to administer. Furthermore, it acts locally, only in the bronchial tree, and, thus, cannot interfere with any systemic drug. Researchers have stated that the treatment would improve mucus transport and aid their recovery.

Since the body naturally produces it, allergic reactions are very rare. As it will be used locally, the risk of systemic side effects will also be less. However, its effects during pregnancy or breastfeeding have not been thoroughly studied. There is also some evidence that cancer cells are sensitive to hyaluronic acid and taking supplements could make them grow faster.

Currently, the treatments for lung disease include inhaled steroids, antibiotics, and bronchodilators. Hence use of such a molecule that is already found in the body is entirely a new concept. Perhaps it’s time to change the focus to connective tissue and extracellular matrix substances such as hyaluronan, in order to prevent and treat chronic lung diseases.

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References

Inhaled high molecular weight hyaluronan ameliorates respiratory failure in acute COPD exacerbation: a pilot study

The Therapeutic Potential of Hyaluronan in COPD

Serum levels of hyaluronic acid are associated with COPD severity and predict survival

Hyaluronic Acid: Perspectives in lung diseases

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