OBJECTIVES - We investigated acute changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) gene expression and histologic changes in the deposition of collagen and hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid; HA) after basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) treatment of the aged rat vocal fold.
METHODS - For the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) experiments, we divided ten 18-month-old Sprague-Dawley rats into two groups that received serial injections of sham (saline solution) or bFGF (2 ng/microL) and euthanized them 2 weeks after the initial injection to investigate acute changes in ECM gene expression. We treated a separate group of 5 animals unilaterally and sacrificed them 4 weeks after the initial injection to investigate histologic changes in the deposition of collagen and HA.
RESULTS - Real-time PCR revealed significantly up-regulated HA synthase (HAS)-2, HAS-3, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and procollagen type I gene expression in the bFGF treatment group as compared to the sham treatment group. Histologic staining revealed significantly increased deposition of HA in the bFGF-treated vocal fold as compared to the sham-treated vocal fold. No differences in ECM collagen levels were observed between treatment sides.
CONCLUSIONS - Basic fibroblast growth factor induced the up-regulation of HAS-2, HAS-3, MMP-2, and procollagen type I. Histologically, aged vocal folds treated with bFGF revealed increased deposition of HA as compared to sham-treated vocal folds.