MVP, Hyaluronic Acid and Hyaluronidase People often develop mitral valve prolapse and other heart ailments after contracting rheumatic fever. It may be in part because the bacteria that cause rheumatic fever emit an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic acid. By dissolving the associations between the hyaluronic acid cells in connective tissue, bacteria can move through tissues that would otherwise pose a barrier to the spread of the organism. So if bacteria enter the body by breaking down hyaluronic acid in heart valves, then that would provide a logical explanation of why the valves then become defective. The herb echinacea is said to be helpful in combating cold and viruses, in part because it inhibits the activity of the enzyme hyaluronidase. This anti-hyaluronidase action is involved in regeneration of connective tissue destroyed during infection and in the elimination of pathogenic organisms creating the infection. A lack of hyaluronic acid would provide a logical explanation why people with connective tissue disorders not only have many symptoms linked to defective connective tissue, such as lax joints and stretched out heart valves, but also why they tend to have a high rate of bacterial and viral infections. It would also explain why symptoms of MVP often appear or increase after a viral illness. If a person's hyaluronic acid is less than robust, perhaps this make it easier for bacteria to break through their protective hyaluronic acid barrier.