Biocompatibility study of different hyaluronan products for intra-articular treatment of knee osteoarthritis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 424 (2019).

Biocompatibility study of different hyaluronan products for intra-articular treatment of knee osteoarthritis

Yoshioka, K., Katayama, M., Nishiyama, T. et al.


Intra-articular (IA) injection of hyaluronic acid (HA) (IA-HA) is a well-recognized treatment option for pain associated with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA). IA-HA products differ in their HA content, molecular weight, cross-linking, and source of HA. These differences are assumed to affect the biocompatibility of the IA-HA products once injected inside the knee joint.


In the present study, we investigated the biocompatibility of three multiple-injection IA-HA products available in the global market. These included SUPARTZ FX™, a medium range molecular weight HA derived from rooster comb (Avian-HA); ORTHOVISC®, a high range molecular weight HA obtained through biological fermentation (Bio-HA); and SYNVISC®, a high molecular weight cross-linked hyaluronan derived from rooster comb (Avian-CL-HA). Rabbit knee joint tissues were histologically and biochemically examined after IA injection of the products. Furthermore, we compared the amounts of impurities in the IA-HA products.


IA injection of Avian-CL-HA into rabbit knee joints induced the aggregation of inflammatory cells, infiltration of eosinophils, and an increase in the number of cells in the synovial fluid. However, these effects were not seen in the Avian-HA and Bio-HA groups. The residual protein content and the contaminant levels of bacterial endotoxins were below the limit of quantitation in all HA products. Avian-CL-HA contained relatively a large amount of (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan, but this was below the lower limit of quantification in the other HA products.


The present results clearly demonstrate that the biocompatibility of Avian-HA is comparable to that of Bio-HA, and they were both considered to have a favorable safety profile for the treatment of symptomatic OA of the knee. However, immunostimulatory activity was observed after injection of Avian-CL-HA: this might be a result of its unique cross-linking structure and/or the considerable amount of (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan impurity present in the formulation.

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