In vitro enzymatic treatment and carbon dioxide laser beam irradiation of morphologic cartilage specimens

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Dec;132(12):1363-70. doi: 10.1001/archotol.132.12.1363.


Objectives: To determine the role of the main cartilage components in the internal system of interlocked stresses and to clarify the effect of laser beam irradiation on cartilage.

Design: Control and experimental series.

Subjects: Rabbit ear cartilage.

Intervention: Rabbit ear cartilage strips incubated in collagenase and hyaluronidase enzyme solutions for specific periods were examined, and the observed changes in shape, strength, and elasticity were recorded, as well as the effect of carbon dioxide laser irradiation. Laser-pretreated cartilage strips were also incubated in the enzyme solutions to determine whether the laser-provoked changes were susceptible to enzymatic action. All cartilage pieces were examined by light and electron microscopy.

Results: Collagenase-treated cartilage strips gradually lost their interlocked stresses, while hyaluronidase-treated strips mostly maintained their shape and their physical characteristics. Hyaluronidase-incubated cartilage strips altered their shape when they were laser treated. Collagenase-treated cartilages did not modify their shape when they were laser treated. Laser-pretreated cartilage pieces lost their new form in collagenase solutions but kept their laser-evoked shape when put in hyaluronidase solutions.

Conclusion: The macroscopic observations combined with light and electron microscopy findings argue for the distinct role of the collagen network in morphologic cartilage shape and tensile strength preservation and provide a probable mechanism of cartilage transformation owing to carbon dioxide laser irradiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / ultrastructure
  • Collagenases / pharmacology*
  • Ear Cartilage* / drug effects
  • Ear Cartilage* / radiation effects
  • Ear Cartilage* / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / radiation effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lasers*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Rabbits


  • Collagen
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase
  • Collagenases