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Cryotherapy has antifibrotic and regenerative effects on human vocal fold fibroblasts.


Vocal fold scarring remains a major treatment challenge, and scar prevention without residual lesions remains a dilemma. Cryotherapy has shown cosmetic outcomes on skin lesions with minimal scarring. The aim of this study was to clarify the beneficial effects of cryotherapy for the prevention and the treatment of vocal fold scarring. In vitro. Primary cultures of human vocal fold fibroblasts (VFFs) were used in this study. Myofibroblast differentiation was stimulated by transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). We mimicked the cryotherapy effect on vocal fold healing in vivo by freezing VFFs ± TGF-β1 in vitro. The influence of freezing on cell viability, proliferation, migration, and contractile properties were analyzed. The expression of collagen I, collagen III, fibronectin, TGF-β1, matrix metallopeptidase 1 (MMP1), hyaluronan synthase 1 (HAS1) were investigated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and the expression of alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and decorin were investigated by RT-PCR and Western blot. Freezing was found to modify extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and differentiation of VFFs. Expression of collagen I, collagen III, fibronectin, α-SMA, and TGF-β1 was downregulated, and MMP1 was upregulated in VFFs + TGF-β1 (myofibroblast) by freezing. HAS1 and decorin were upregulated in both VFFs ± TGF-β1 by freezing. Freezing VFFs + TGF-β1 (myofibroblast) with fast thawing had a lower expression of α-SMA when compared with slow thawing. Freezing reduced the migration and collagen contraction of VFFs + TGF-β1 (myofibroblast). Cryotherapy induces antifibrotic and regenerative ECM alterations in VFFs. These data provide insight into the prevention and the treatment of vocal fold scarring with cryotherapy in phonomicrosurgery. NA Laryngoscope, 2018. © 2018 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.