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Joint disease is characterized by an imbalance between the synthesis and degradation of articular cartilage and subchondral bone accompanied by capsular fibrosis, osteophyte formation and varying degrees of inflammation of the synovial membrane. Many animal models have been developed to study arthritis and osteoarthritis that enable experimental conditions, diet and environmental risk factors to be carefully controlled. Animal-based studies have demonstrated the positive effects of exogenous HA on the preservation of joint cartilage in different models of arthritis and osteoarthritis. Although many promising effects of exogenous HA have been reported, there remains uncertainty as to its effectiveness in reversing cartilage injury and other manifestations of joint diseases because of difficulties in interpreting and unifying the results of these studies.A review of the literature of the last decade was conducted to report the results and to determine what we have learned from animal models in relation to joint inflammation induced by experimental models and HA treatment.Hypothetical biochemical pathway illustrating the possible role of native HA and degraded HA in inflamed tissues.