The extracellular matrix (ECM) of the vocal fold tissue consists primarily of fibrous and interstitial proteins. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of selective enzymatic digestion of two ECM proteins, namely elastin and versican, on the elasticity of rabbit vocal fold tissue. Quasi-static, sinusoidal, uniaxial tensile tests were performed. The data were analyzed within the framework of a model of the ECM as a two-phase composite material consisting of collagen fibrils as the reinforcing fibers and noncollagenous ECM proteins as the matrix. To validate the two-phase model, the regression parameters for the fibers’ volume fraction and shear modulus in a different animal model were compared with corresponding published data. The proposed model was then used to analyze rabbit vocal fold tissues. The mean value and the standard deviation of the fiber volume fraction were found to be 8.49 (Formula presented.) 3.75 % for the control samples ((Formula presented.) = 4), 0.59 (Formula presented.) 1.13 % after elastin removal ((Formula presented.) = 4), and 8.22 (Formula presented.) 1.06 % after versican removal ((Formula presented.) = 4). The results suggest that elastin removal may lead to a reduction in tissue stiffness, through counteracting the reinforcement of collagen fibrils.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modeling and Simulation
- Mechanical Engineering