Advances of hyaluronic acid in stem cell therapy and tissue engineering, including current clinical trials

Eur Cell Mater. 2019 Mar 19;37:186-213. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v037a12.


Hyaluronic acid (HA), as one of the main components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), plays a significant role in a multitude of biological processes involving cell migration, proliferation, differentiation, wound healing and inflammation. Thanks to its excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability and hygroscopic properties, HA has been used in its natural form for joint lubrication and ocular treatment. The chemical structure of HA can be easily modified by direct reaction with its carboxyl and hydroxyl groups. Recently, HA derivatives have been synthesised with the aim of developing HA-based materials with increased mechanical strength, improved cell interactions and reduced biodegradation and studied for regenerative medicine purposes, including cell therapy and tissue engineering. In this context, the present manuscript reviews HA applications from a basic point of view - including chemical modifications and cellular biology aspects related to clinical translation - and future perspectives of using biofabrication technologies for regenerative medicine. A detailed description of current clinical trials, testing advanced therapies based on combination of stem cells and HA formulations, is included. The final goal was to offer an integral portrait and a deeper comprehension of the current applications of HA from bench to bedside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hyaluronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Hyaluronic Acid