Biodynamic performance of hyaluronic acid versus synovial fluid of the knee in osteoarthritis

Methods. 2015 Aug:84:90-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.03.019. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


Hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural biomaterial present in healthy joints but depleted in osteoarthritis (OA), has been employed clinically to provide symptomatic relief of joint pain. Joint movement combined with a reduced joint lubrication in osteoarthritic knees can result in increased wear and tear, chondrocyte apoptosis, and inflammation, leading to cascading cartilage deterioration. Therefore, development of an appropriate cartilage model that can be evaluated for its friction properties with potential lubricants in different conditions is necessary, which can closely resemble a mechanically induced OA cartilage. Additionally, a comparison of different models with and without endogenous lubricating surface zone proteins, such as PRG4 promotes a well-rounded understanding of cartilage lubrication. In this study, we present our findings on the lubricating effects of HA on different articular cartilage model surfaces in comparison to synovial fluid, a physiological lubricating biomaterial. The mechanical testings data demonstrated that HA reduced average static and kinetic friction coefficient values of the cartilage samples by 75% and 70%, respectively. Furthermore, HA mimicked the friction characteristics of freshly harvested natural synovial fluid throughout all tested and modeled OA conditions with no statistically significant difference. These characteristics led us to exclusively identify HA as an effective boundary layer lubricant in the technology that we develop to treat OA (Singh et al., 2014).

Keywords: Cartilage; Hyaluronic acid; Lubricin; Osteoarthritis; Synovial fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology
  • Cattle
  • Friction / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / physiology*
  • Hyaluronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lubricants
  • Lubrication
  • Materials Testing
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Synovial Fluid / physiology*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Lubricants
  • PRG4 protein, human
  • Proteoglycans
  • Hyaluronic Acid