A study of the factors influencing the hydration of the biopolymer hyaluronic acid was made by compressibility and density measurements. The factors investigated were the hydration changes on glycosidic bond formation, and also the influence of counterion type, solution ionic strength and temperature. The results indicate that, with this biopolymer, the hydration of the glucuronate residue is significantly more than that of the N-acetylglucosamine residue, and further that the biopolymer is less hydrated than the sum of its component monosaccharide residues. Change of the counterion salt form of this polyelectrolyte from univalent to bivalent counterion type (Na+ to Ca2+) leads to a small though significant increase in the total hydration sheath surrounding the polymer. An increase in the background ionic strength of the solvent leads to a quantifiable lowering of the hydration of the polymer at physiological ionic strength compared with its value in salt-free aqueous solution. A decrease in hydration with increase in temperature in the range 20-50 degrees C is the opposite of previous reports, and was observed when the polymer was dissolved both in pure water and in 0.15 M-NaCl.
- © 1983 London: The Biochemical Society