Hyaluronic acid (HA) stimulated the function of polymorphonucler leukocytes (PMN) both in vitro and in vivo. Stimulation in vitro was achieved by the incubation of PMN and HA in heparinized whole blood at concentrations of HA between 5 and 500 microgram/liter. The stimulation of the PMN function was demonstrated by an increase rate of phagocytosis of complement- and/or immunoglobulin (Ig)G-coated latex particles, increased adherence to nylon wool, increased random migration and chemotactic response, increased chemiluminescence during phagocytosis, and raised levels of intracellular ATP. The effect of HA in vivo was demonstrated, after subcutaneous administration of HA (5-20 mg) to healthy volunteers, by an enhanced rate of phagocytosis of the subsequently isolated neutrophils. The duration of the effect of one administration was approximately 1 wk with maximum effect on days 2-4. HA injections to patients with increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and impaired neutrophil function demonstrated an enhanced neutrophil function also in these individuals. HA may therefore be a new principle by which resistance to infections can be enhanced.
L Håkansson, R Hällgren, P Venge