High osmotic stress behavior of hyaluronate and heparin



Using polyethylene glycol and dextran as osmotic stressing agents, the concentrations of hyaluronate and heparin were measured as a function of osmotic pressure II over the range of 0.03 to nearly 50 atmospheres. The experimental results were analyzed in terms of the Donnan osmotic pressure, the virial expansion, and Flory's first neighbor interaction parameter. In addition, II was looked at as a function of the reciprocal cube root of the concentration, which represents an average intermonomer spacing at high concentrations. The decay lengths in the so-called hydration region were found to be around 2.6 Å and negligibly salt dependent. In the electrostatically dominated region the decay lengths were found to be dependent on the ionic strength, but not simply so. The osmotic compressibilities were also calculated, and were compared to compressibility data of corneal stroma and articular cartilage. These latter compressibilities were close to those for the pure hyaluronate and heparin, strengthening the evidence that glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are largely responsible for connective tissue compressibility. Higher compressibilities for previously reported GAG data is thought to be related to the protein content of those samples.