Vocal Fold Epithelial Response to Luminal Osmotic Perturbation Purpose Dry-air challenges increase the osmolarity of fluid lining the luminal surface of the proximal airway. The homeostasis of surface fluid is thought to be essential for voice production and laryngeal defense. Therefore, the authors hypothesized that viable vocal fold epithelium would generate a water flux to reduce an osmotic ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2007
Vocal Fold Epithelial Response to Luminal Osmotic Perturbation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mahalakshmi Sivasankar
    Purdue University
  • Kimberly V. Fisher
    Northwestern University
  • Contact author: Mahalakshmi Sivasankar, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, or Kimberly V. Fisher, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail: msivasankar@purdue.edu or kim_fisher@northwestern.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2007
Vocal Fold Epithelial Response to Luminal Osmotic Perturbation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2007, Vol. 50, 886-898. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/063)
History: Received June 22, 2006 , Revised October 17, 2006 , Accepted January 2, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2007, Vol. 50, 886-898. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/063)
History: Received June 22, 2006; Revised October 17, 2006; Accepted January 2, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 17

Purpose Dry-air challenges increase the osmolarity of fluid lining the luminal surface of the proximal airway. The homeostasis of surface fluid is thought to be essential for voice production and laryngeal defense. Therefore, the authors hypothesized that viable vocal fold epithelium would generate a water flux to reduce an osmotic challenge (150 mOsm mannitol) on the lumen. Bidirectional transepithelial water fluxes were measured in vocal folds exposed to physiologically realistic luminal osmotic perturbations in vitro.

Method Thirty-six native ovine vocal folds were exposed to either luminal hyperosmotic or isosmotic perturbations. Vocal fold viability and water fluxes toward the lumen and into the mucosa were measured at prechallenge baseline and for 30 min after challenge.

Results Vocal fold electrophysiological viability was maintained for the duration of osmotic perturbation. Luminal osmotic exposure increased luminally directed transepithelial water fluxes in 60% of vocal folds. This increase was electrically silent, of short duration, and would not negate the osmotic gradient.

Conclusion Ovine vocal fold epithelia detect osmotic perturbations to the luminal surface in vitro. This ability to detect and respond to changes in surface composition may be important in homeostatic regulation of vocal fold surface fluid during osmotic perturbations in respiration and phonation.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant K08 DC-00168 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, awarded to the second author. We thank Donovan Yeates at the Pulmonary Biophysics Laboratory, University of Illinois, Chicago, for insightful discussions. We also acknowledge Frank, Gene, and Buck at the Chiappetti slaughterhouse in Chicago for providing ovine tissue for this study.
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