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Potential therapeutic applications of hyaluronan in the lung

Authors Jerome O Cantor

Published 15 October 2007 Volume 2007:2(3) Pages 283—288

Jerome O Cantor

Department of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, St John’s University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Hyaluronan (HA), a long-chain polysaccharide, is currently being evaluated as a potential therapeutic agent for a number of inflammatory disorders. The effect of HA on inflammation appears to be related to its molecular size, with larger polysaccharide chains having anti-inflammatory activity and smaller ones having proinflammatory properties. This dichotomous behavior is particularly relevant to the work of our laboratory on an aerosolized preparation of HA to treat pulmonary emphysema. The breakdown of inhaled HA into smaller fragments could possibly induce an inflammatory reaction in the lung that counteracts any beneficial effect. Consequently, the proposed therapeutic use of HA will require development of treatment strategies aimed at minimizing its proinflammatory activity.

Keywords: hyaluronan, emphysema, asthma, elastin, elastase, endotoxin

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