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Investigating the Role of Hyaluronic Acid Degeneration in Intervertebral Spine Disc Health

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AMSBIO has reported how a collaborative team of international biomedical researchers have investigated expression and activity of hyaluronidases (HYAL-1, HYAL-2 and HYAL-3) in human intervertebral spine discs.

Hyaluronic acid plays an essential role in water retention of the intervertebral disc (IVD) providing flexibility and shock absorbance in the spine. Hyaluronic acid gets degraded by hyaluronidases (HYALs), and some of the resulting fragments have previously been shown to induce an inflammatory and catabolic response in human IVD cells. However, until now no data has existed on the expression and activity of HYALs in IVD health and disease.

Professor Karin Wuertz-Kozak from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology (USA) commented "The HYAL activity kit (Ra003-01-HAK) supplied by AMSBIO helped us to move from purely analyzing HYAL (gene/protein) expression to actually measuring HYAL activity. When investigating enzymes, such a functional read-out is crucial. While well-established methods and kits exist for other enzymes such as MMPs, determining HYAL activity is more complicated. Although our treatments did not result in a significant increase in HYAL activity, we found the assay to be reliable and very easy to use".

Professor Wuertz-Kozak added "Our study showed for the first time that HYAL-1, HYAL-2 and HYAL-3, the three major HA-degrading enzymes, are expressed in IVD issue and isolated cells. Interestingly, HYAL-1 expression was increased with increasing degeneration, although this was only observed on the mRNA level, but not on the protein level".