The effects of laser irradiation of cartilage on chondrocyte gene expression and the collagen matrix

Paul K. Holden, Chao Li, Victor Da Costa, Chung Ho Sun, Susan V. Bryant, David M. Gardiner, Brian J.F. Wong

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Objectives: Laser reshaping of cartilage is an emerging technology aimed at replacing conventional techniques for aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Little is known about the mechanisms of wound healing following the photothermal heating during laser reshaping and, ultimately, how collagen remodels in the irradiated tissue. Healthy hyaline and elastic cartilage as found in the ear, nose, larynx, and trachea does not express collagen type I which is characteristic of fibro-cartilage and scar tissue. The aim of the study was to determine if collagen I and II gene expression occurs within laser irradiated rabbit septal cartilage. Methods: Nasal septum harvested from freshly euthanized New Zealand White rabbits were irradiated with an Nd:YAG laser. After 2 weeks in culture, the laser spot and surrounding non-irradiated regions were imaged using immunofluorescence staining and evaluated using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to determine the presence of collagen I and II, and ascertain collagen I and II gene expression, respectively. Results: All laser irradiated specimens showed a cessation in collagen II gene expression within the center of the laser spot. Collagen II was expressed in the surrounding region encircling the laser spot and within the non-irradiated periphery in all specimens. Immunohistochemistry identified only type II collagen. Neither collagen I gene expression nor immunoreactivity were identified in any specimens regardless or irradiation parameters. Conclusions: Laser irradiation of rabbit septal cartilage using dosimetry parameters similar to those used in laser reshaping does not result in the detection of either collagen I gene expression or immunoreactivity. Only collagen type II was noted after laser exposure in vitro following cell culture, which suggests that the cellular response to laser irradiation is distinct from that observed in conventional wound healing. Laser irradiation of cartilage can leave an intact collagen matrix which likely allows chondrocyte recovery on an intact scaffold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-491
Number of pages5
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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