Objectives: We examined cell adhesion to a surface under vibrational forces approximating those of phonation.
Methods: A monolayer of human fibroblast cells was seeded on a fibronectin-coated glass coverslip, which was attached to either the rotating part or the stationary part of a rheometer-bioreactor. The temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide level, nutrients, and cell seeding density were controlled. The cell density was on the order of 1,000 to 5,000 cells per square millimeter. Target stresses above 1 kPa at an oscillatory frequency of 100 Hz were chosen to reflect conditions of vocal fold tissue vibration.
Results: Fibronectin coating provided enough adhesion to support at least 2 kPa of oscillating stress, but only about 0.1 kPa of steady rotational shear. For stresses exceeding those limits, the cells were not able to adhere to the thin film of fibronectin.
Conclusions: Cells will adhere to a planar surface under stresses typical of phonation, which provide a more stringent test than adherence in a 3-dimensional matrix. The density of cell seeding on the coverslip played a role in cell-extracellular matrix adhesion, in that the cells adhered to each other more than to the fibronectin coating when the cells were nearly confluent.