A pilot clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of aerosolized hyaluronan as a treatment for COPD

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2017 Sep 18;12:2747-2752. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S142156. eCollection 2017.


A novel therapy for COPD involving the use of aerosolized hyaluronan (HA) was tested on a small cohort of COPD patients to determine both its safety and efficacy in reducing levels of desmosine and isodesmosine (DID), biomarkers for elastin degradation. In a 2-week, randomized, double-blind trial, 8 patients receiving 150 kDa HA (mean molecular weight) and 3 others given placebo did not show significant adverse effects with regard to spirometry, electrocardiograms, and hematological indices. Furthermore, measurements of DID in plasma from HA-treated patients indicated a progressive decrease over a 3-week period following initiation of treatment (r=-0.98; p=0.02), whereas patients receiving placebo showed no reduction in DID (r=-0.70; p=0.30). Measurements of sputum in the HA-treated group also revealed a progressive decrease in DID (r=-0.97; p=0.03), but this finding was limited by the absence of similar measurements in the placebo group. Nevertheless, the results of this small, pilot study support a longer-term trial of HA in a larger population of COPD patients.

Keywords: COPD; desmosine; elastin; hyaluronan.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Aged
  • Arizona
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Desmosine / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elastin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Hyaluronic Acid / adverse effects
  • Isodesmosine / blood
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sputum / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aerosols
  • Biomarkers
  • Desmosine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Elastin
  • Isodesmosine