Hyaluronic acid has chondroprotective and joint-preserving effects on LPS-induced synovitis in horses

J Vet Sci. 2019 Nov;20(6):e67. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2019.20.e67.


The intra-articular use of hyaluronic acid (HA) for the treatment of synovitis and osteoarthritis is still controversial. As a consequence, corticosteroids remain the most frequently employed therapeutic agents, despite their potential systemic and local deleterious effects. This study examined the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and chondroprotective activities of low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA and HMW-HA) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced synovitis in horses compared to triamcinolone acetonide (TA). LPS was injected in the metacarpophalangeal joints, which were treated intra-articularly with either TA (as control) or LMW-HA or HMW-HA. Joint clinical evaluation and synovial fluid (SF) analysis were performed at 0, 8, 24, and 48 h. The white blood cell counts (WBC), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α, chondroitin sulfate (CS) and HA concentrations, oxidative burst, and HA molecular weights were measured. TA reduced the lameness, swelling, and PGE2 release but increased the SF CS concentrations enormously at 24h and 48h, and decreased the SF HA modal molecular weight. These results indicate the breakdown of articular cartilage aggrecan and SF HA. In contrast, LMW-HA and HMW-HA were less effective in reducing the inflammation symptoms, but preserved the joints because only a modest increase in CS occurred at 24 h, decreasing at 48 h, and the SF HA was maintained. The HA-treatment also had anti-inflammatory actions, and LMW-HA was the most effective in reducing the release of cytokine. In summary, the HA treatment inhibited efficiently the digestion of cartilage proteoglycans and SF HA breakdown.

Keywords: Hyaluronic acid; chondroitin sulfates; joint inflammation; synovial fluid; triamcinolone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Horse Diseases / chemically induced
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horses
  • Hyaluronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Injections, Intra-Articular / veterinary*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Synovial Fluid / drug effects*
  • Synovitis / chemically induced
  • Synovitis / drug therapy
  • Synovitis / veterinary*
  • Viscosupplements / pharmacology*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Viscosupplements
  • Hyaluronic Acid