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Any one of a family of enzymes, also known as hyaluronate lyases or spreading factors, produced by mammals, reptiles, insects, and bacteria, which catalyze the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Some hyaluronidases also attack other similar polysaccharides. Since all liquefy the polysaccharide gel which fills the tissue spaces, they effectively accelerate diffusion so that injected, dissolved, or particulate matter (bacteria, viruses, toxins, or pigments) can diffuse through a larger volume of tissue. See Hyaluronic acid

The biological importance of the enzyme depends upon its source. That found in the culture filtrates of many strains of virulent bacteria permits the microorganisms to gain access to a larger volume of the host's tissue and, hence, to additional nutriment. That found in the venom of certain snakes and bees permits the toxin to produce more extensive damage to the victim. See Enzyme

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Any one of a family of enzymes which catalyze the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Also known as hyaluronate lyase; spreading factor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
(17.) Kuppermann BD, Thomas EL, de Smet MD, Grillone LR, for the Vitrase for Vitreous Hemorrhage Study Groups.
(49.) Vitrase (hyaluronidase injection) ovine, 200 USP units/mL [package insert].
"We will continue to supply the enzyme for Vitrase but, that said, we did turnover of pounds 6.5m last year, and Vitrase accounted for just 3pc of that.
Vitrase is a treatment for the eye condition, severe vitreous haemorrhage, which causes bleeding into the vitreous humour of the eye, leading to sight problems.
Patients will be evaluated for three months post enrollment for efficacy of the Vitrase treatment, and for 12 months for safety.
The endpoint for determining the efficacy of the Vitrase treatment will be successful treatment of the underlying causes of vitreous hemorrhage.
"Based on our clinical experiences to date, Vitrase offers the potential to be the first non-surgical treatment for vitreous hemorrhage."
Results of a previous Phase III study of Vitrase conducted outside of the United States showed a significant difference in the incidence of vitreous hemorrhage clearance for patients with dense hemorrhages, with the highest proportion of dense hemorrhage clearance occurring in the 75 IU dose.