The vocal fold epithelium is exposed to inhaled particulates including pollutants during breathing in everyday environments. Yet, our understanding of the effects of pollutants on vocal fold epithelial function is extremely limited. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the pollutant acrolein on two vocal fold epithelial mechanisms: ion transport and mucin (MUC) synthesis. These mechanisms were chosen as each plays a critical role in vocal defense and in maintaining surface hydration which is necessary for optimal voice production. Healthy, native porcine vocal folds (N = 85) were excised and exposed to an acrolein or sham challenge. A 60-min acrolein, but not sham challenge significantly reduced ion transport and inhibited cyclic adenosine monophosphate-dependent, increases in ion transport. Decreases in ion transport were associated with reduced sodium absorption. Within the same timeline, no significant acrolein-induced changes in MUC gene or protein expression were observed. These results improve our understanding of the effects of acrolein on key vocal fold epithelial functions and inform the development of future investigations that seek to elucidate the impact of a wide range of pollutant exposures on vocal fold health.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 20, 2014
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