Collagen composite hydrogels for vocal fold lamina propria restoration.
Hahn MS., Teply BA., Stevens MM., Zeitels SM., Langer R.
Chronic voice impairment due to scarring of the vocal fold (VF) lamina propria (LP) can be debilitating in terms of quality of life. Due to the dependence of normal VF vibration on proper VF geometry, an implant inserted to restore appropriate shape and pliability to scarred LP should ideally maintain its insertion-dimensions while being replaced by newly synthesized extracellular matrix (ECM). In the present study, collagen-alginate and collagen-hyaluronan (HA) composite hydrogels were investigated for their ability to support ECM synthesis by VF fibroblasts with limited hydrogel compaction and/or resorption. Collagen-HA composites showed significant mass loss over 28 days of culture, with little evidence of new matrix production. Collagen-alginate composites, in contrast, resisted scaffold compaction and mass loss for at least 42 days in culture while allowing for ECM synthesis. Collagen-alginate hydrogels appear to be promising materials for VF restoration, warranting further investigation.