Vocal fold proteoglycans and their influence on biomechanics

Laryngoscope. 1999 Jun;109(6):845-54. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199906000-00001.


Objective/hypothesis: To examine the interstitial proteins of the vocal fold and their influence on the biomechanical properties of that tissue.

Study design: Anatomic study of the lamina propria of human cadaveric vocal folds combined with some viscosity testing.

Methods: Identification of proteoglycans is performed with histochemical staining. Quantitative analysis is performed using an image analysis system. A rheometer is used for viscosity testing. Three-dimensional rendering program is used for the computer images.

Results: Proteoglycans play an important role in tissue biomechanics. Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule that affects viscosity.

Discussion: The proteoglycans of the lamina propria have important biological and biomechanical effects. The role of hyaluronic acid in determining tissue viscosity is emphasized. Viscosity, its effect on phonatory threshold pressure and energy expended due to phonation is discussed.

Conclusion: Proteoglycans, particularly hyaluronic acid, play important roles in determining biomechanical properties of tissue oscillation. Future research will likely make these proteins of important therapeutic interest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phonation / physiology
  • Proteoglycans / analysis*
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Viscosity
  • Vocal Cords / chemistry*
  • Vocal Cords / physiology


  • Fibronectins
  • Proteoglycans
  • Hyaluronic Acid