The effects of hyaluronan on bone resorption and bone mineral density in a rat model of estrogen deficiency-induced osteopenia

Int J Tissue React. 2004;26(1-2):9-16.


Hyaluronan, or hyaluronic acid (HA), is an essential component of extracellular matrices. HA of appropriate molecular weight and concentration can induce osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in vitro. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of HA of different molecular weights on ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss in rats. Adult female Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to bilateral OVX or sham surgical procedure (sham). OVX rats were treated with: HA of molecular weight of 0.75 MDa at a dose of 1 mg/kg/day and with HA of molecular weight of 1.62 MDa at a dose of both 0.5 mg/kg/day and 1 mg/kg/day. HA was applied orally once a day during the 8-week period after ovariectomy. Body weight, urinary pyridinoline (Pyr), deoxypyridinoline (DPyr) corrected for urinary creatinine, serum nitrite/nitrate concentrations and whole body and femoral bone mineral density (BMD) were measured. HA treatment had no effect on the body weight gain in OVX rats. Excretion of urinary Pyr and Dpyr significantly increased in OVX rats compared to sham controls. The higher molecular weight HA (1.62 MDa) significantly reduced urinary Pyr and DPyr concentrations measured on day 28 after ovariectomy (p < 0.001). Serum concentrations of nitric oxide metabolites, nitrite/nitrate significantly decreased in OVX rats in comparison with sham controls (p < 0.001). HA of both 0.75 MDa and 1.62 MDa molecular weights significantly enhanced serum nitrite/nitrate concentrations in OVX rats. There was a clear reduction of whole body and femoral BMD in untreated OVX rats. The higher molecular weight HA decreased both whole body and femoral BMD loss. Our results show that orally applied HA of high molecular weight (1.62 MDa) inhibits bone resorption and provides a protective effect on bone density in ovariectomized rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / metabolism*
  • Bone Resorption*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Estrogens / deficiency*
  • Female
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hyaluronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Nitrates / blood
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Amino Acids
  • Estrogens
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • pyridinoline
  • deoxypyridinoline
  • Hyaluronic Acid