REVIEW Sodium hyaluronate functions as a tissue lubricant and is thought to play an important role in modulating the interactions between adjacent tissues. Sodium hyaluronate is a polysaccharide which is distributed widely in the extracellular matrix of connective tissue in man. It forms a viscoelastic solution in water which makes it suitable for aqueous and vitreous humor in ophthalmic surgery. Mechanical protection for tissues (iris, retina) and cell layers (corneal, endothelium, and epithelium) are provided by the high viscosity of the solution. Elasticity of the solution assists in absorbing mechanical stress and providing a protective buffer for tissues. This viscoelasticity enables maintenance of a deep chamber during surgical manipulation since the solution does not flow out of the open anterior chamber. In facilitating wound healing, it is thought that it acts as a protective transport vehicle, taking peptide growth factors and other structural proteins to a site of action. It is then enzymatically degraded and active proteins are released to promote tissue repair. Sodium hyaluronate is being used intra-articularly to treat osteoarthritis.
Boucher, W. S.; Letourneau, R.; Huang, M.; Kempuraj, D.; Green, M.; Sant, G. R.; Theoharides, T. C. (2002). Intravesical sodium hyaluronate inhibits the rat urinary mast cell mediator increase triggered by acute immobilization stress. The Journal of Urology 167 (1): 380-384. doi:10.1016/S0022-5347(05)65472-9. PMID 11743360. edit
Puhl, W.; Scharf, P. (1997). Intra-articular hyaluronan treatment for osteoarthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases 56 (7): 441. doi:10.1136/ard.56.7.441. PMC 1752402. PMID 9486013. edit