Objectives: The collagen subtypes in human vocal folds are of particular interest, because each collagen subtype has different features that make it uniquely suited for performing specific tissue tasks and each collagen subtype can affect the tissue properties of the vocal fold lamina propria, Methods: Human vocal folds from 5 autopsy cases (less than 65 years old) were examined by immunohistochemistry for collagen types I, III, IV, and V and elastin. Results: Collagen type III was distributed throughout the whole lamina propria. Type I was found just beneath the basal membrane, in the deep layer of the lamina propria and in the anterior and posterior maculae flavae. Types IV and V were present in the epithelial and endothelial basal membrane. Three-dimensional images from thick specimens reconstructed with confocal microscopy showed 2 distinct patterns: type III fibers were wavy, collagenous fibers, as previously observed in the vocal folds, and type I fibers were thinner than type III fibers. These results suggest that type III fibers help maintain the lamina propria structure and that type I fibers provide the tensile strength required around the basal membrane and vocal ligament to maintain the vocal fold shape while withstanding vibratory forces.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes