Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a long-chain biopolymer that is used for a wide variety of therapeutic
purposes because of its high biocompatibility and advantageous physico-chemical properties. Typical
uses include surgical preparations, adhesion prevention, viscosupplementation and drug and cytokine
delivery. Storage and release of desired factors can be effectively achieved when HA-based carriers
are synthesized as hydrogels, although doing so normally requires chemical modification of the native
HA structure. Delivery of stored solutes from these gels can be either “simple”, that is from a gel
not including separate components intended to control release, or “regulated” when specific components are included for
that purpose. A diverse assortment of modified forms of HA has been developed and used in therapeutic, clinical, veterinary
and laboratory research environments, and the number of such applications is likely to grow in future years. In this
article, we review recent developments in this field.
Keywords: Biomaterials, connective tissue, cytokines, growth factors, hyaluronan, hydrogels.
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