OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS - Vocal fold scarring disrupts the layer structure of the vocal fold lamina propria that is essential for optimal mucosal vibration. Prevention of vocal fold scarring remains challenging. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has strong antifibrotic activity. The authors' previous studies have found that HGF stimulates hyaluronic acid production and suppresses collagen production from vocal fold fibroblasts, suggesting that HGF has therapeutic potential in prevention of vocal fold scarring. The present study aimed to demonstrate the effects of HGF on vocal fold scarring in an in vivo rabbit model.
STUDY DESIGN - Animal experiment.
METHODS - The vocal fold mucosa was stripped unilaterally in 20 rabbits, then HGF or saline (sham-treated group) was immediately injected into the injured site. At 6 months after the procedure, histological, rheological, and physiological examinations of vibratory behavior were completed.
RESULTS - Histological examination revealed excessive collagen deposition and disorganized elastin in the sham-treated group, whereas the HGF-treated group presented with better wound healing exhibiting less collagen deposition. Contraction of the injured vocal folds observed in the sham-treated group did not occur in the HGF-treated group. Rheological data indicated that the HGF-treated vocal folds were less stiff and viscous compared with the sham-treated group. Mucosal vibration of HGF-treated vocal folds appeared much better than the sham-treated group in terms of phonation threshold pressure, vocal efficiency, mucosal wave amplitude, and glottal closure.
CONCLUSION - Hepatocyte growth factor proved to be useful in preventing vocal fold scarring and maintaining viscoelastic shear properties of the vocal fold.