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Authors Li L, Stiadle JM, Lau HK, Zerdoum AB, Jia X, Thibeault SL, Kiick KL
Author Profile(s)
Journal Biomaterials Volume: 108 Pages: 91-110
Publish Date 2016 Nov
PubMed ID 27619243
PMC ID 5035639

Vocal folds are soft laryngeal connective tissues with distinct layered structures and complex multicomponent matrix compositions that endow phonatory and respiratory functions. This delicate tissue is easily damaged by various environmental factors and pathological conditions, altering vocal biomechanics and causing debilitating vocal disorders that detrimentally affect the daily lives of suffering individuals. Modern techniques and advanced knowledge of regenerative medicine have led to a deeper understanding of the microstructure, microphysiology, and micropathophysiology of vocal fold tissues. State-of-the-art materials ranging from extracecullar-matrix (ECM)-derived biomaterials to synthetic polymer scaffolds have been proposed for the prevention and treatment of voice disorders including vocal fold scarring and fibrosis. This review intends to provide a thorough overview of current achievements in the field of vocal fold tissue engineering, including the fabrication of injectable biomaterials to mimic in vitro cell microenvironments, novel designs of bioreactors that capture in vivo tissue biomechanics, and establishment of various animal models to characterize the in vivo biocompatibility of these materials. The combination of polymeric scaffolds, cell transplantation, biomechanical stimulation, and delivery of antifibrotic growth factors will lead to successful restoration of functional vocal folds and improved vocal recovery in animal models, facilitating the application of these materials and related methodologies in clinical practice.

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