Inspired by Nature.
Anika Therapeutics’ products are based on hyaluronic acid (HA), which is also called hyaluronan or sodium hyaluronate. HA is present both in skin, where it plays a major role in tissue repair, and in cartilage and connective tissue, where it functions as a lubricant and a component of the extracellular matrix. HA is present in the body as a polymer (a linked chain of many individual HA units), is continually produced by hyaluronan synthases, and is degraded naturally by a category of enzymes called hyaluronidases.
HA is one of the main lubricating components of synovial joint fluid, and it has been shown to increase the viscosity of the overall mixture. HA is also an important component of cartilage, where it forms complexes that absorb water and help the cartilage maintain resiliency. The average 150-pound person has approximately 15 grams of HA within his or her body, nearly 5 grams of which are degraded and re-synthesized every day. The natural aging process leads to a decrease in the molecular weight of HA in cartilage. To combat this decrease, HA-based products developed for osteoarthritis (called viscosupplementation products) assist in pain relief, and they also function to lubricate and cushion the joint.
HA is also present in the skin, where it has the ability to absorb large quantities of water – over 1,000 times its weight – and to form complexes with collagen and elastin. These complexes support the structure of the skin, contribute to the skin’s elasticity, and create volume in the skin to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Age, as well as exposure to the sun and pollution, leads to a decrease in the body’s natural production of HA, resulting in reduced volume and the appearance of wrinkles. Crosslinked HA-based dermal fillers injected into the skin in the area of wrinkles help restore the skin’s natural appearance.