Objectives: We used an acute vocal fold injury in a rat model to characterize vocal fold wound healing by studying the expression pattern of the extracellular matrix components in the vocal fold lamina propria. Methods: Vocal fold stripping was performed unilaterally in 27 Sprague-Dawley rats. The vocal folds were harvested at 5 time points (1, 3, 5, 7, and 14 days) and histologically analyzed by Alcian blue stain, trichrome stain, and immunofluorescence with antibodies to collagen type I, collagen type III, and fibronectin. Results: Re-epithelialization occurred by day 3 and was complete by day 14. Granulation tissue was formed by day 3. Hyaluronic acid and collagen type I appeared in injured vocal folds by day 3, peaked at day 5, and thereafter decreased. Collagen type III and fibronectin appeared by day 1 and continued to be intense at all time points after day 3. Conclusions: These results suggest that the expression of these extracellular matrix components peaks in the period around days 3 to 5, and that the characteristics of wound healing in the vocal fold are similar to those in the skin in the early phases, but differ during the subsequent remodeling phase.
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