The hyaluronidases (EC 126.96.36.199) are a family of enzymes that degrade hyaluronic acid. more...
By catalyzing the hydrolysis of hyaluronic acid, a major constituent of the interstitial barrier, hyaluronidase lowers the viscosity of hyaluronic acid, thereby increasing tissue permeability. It is, therefore, used in medicine in conjunction with other drugs in order to speed their dispersion and delivery. The most common application is in ophthalmic surgery, in which it is used in combination with local anesthetics.
Some bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Clostridium perfringens, produce hyaluronidase as a means for greater mobility through the body's tissues and as an antigenic disguise that prevents their being recognized by phagocytes of the immune system.
In human fertilization, hyaluronidase is released by the acrosome of the sperm cell after it has reached the oocyte, by digesting proteins in the zona pellucida, thus enabling conception.
Brand names include Vitrase® (ISTA Pharmaceuticals) and Wydase®.
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