Relative contributions of collagen and elastin to elasticity of the vocal fold under tension

Roger W. Chan, Min Fu, Lindsay Young, Neeraj Tirunagari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


This study examined the contributions of collagen and elastin to the tensile elastic properties of the vocal fold lamina propria. Uniaxial stress-strain responses of vocal fold cover and vocal ligament specimens from 20 human larynges (12 males, 8 females) were quantified with sinusoidal stretch-release deformation in vitro. Mid-coronal sections of 12 specimens were examined histologically with Masson's trichrome and elastin van Gieson stain to quantify the relative densities of collagen and elastin fibers. Results showed that significantly higher levels of collagen were found in the male vocal fold than female, for both the cover and the ligament. For male there was a significantly higher level of elastin in the cover than in the ligament. On average, the elastic modulus of the male cover was about twice that of the female at high-tensile strain (35-40%), whereas the male ligament was 3-5 times stiffer than the female in the same range. The ligament was stiffer than the cover for male, but the opposite was observed for female. These findings suggested that collagen and elastin could contribute differentially to elasticity of the cover and the ligament. The data may provide guidance for surgical reconstruction and tissue engineering of different lamina propria layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1483
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Biomechanical modeling
  • Elastic modulus
  • Lamina propria
  • Larynx
  • Phonosurgery
  • Voice disorders
  • Young's modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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