Vocal cords grown in the laboratory

As you know, a person makes sounds by vibration of two vocal cords, each of them consists of a ligament with a muscle covered with a mucous membrane. Their structure is both flexible to vibrate and strong enough to withstand hundreds of vibrations per second.

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Trying to create the first artificial ligaments, scientists isolated cells from the mucous membrane of the donor ligaments and four patients who had their larynx removed for medical reasons. In a three-dimensional collagen skeleton, cells in two weeks formed a tissue with an elastic layer at the bottom and an epithelium at the top.

The analysis of tissue showed that the set of proteins synthesized by the cells coincides with the set of cells of the "natural" vocal cords. For experiments with grown ligaments, the larynx of dogs, which are quite similar to human ones, were used.

Artificial tracheas were connected to them, through which warm moist air passed, as a result of which the vocal cords made a sound. High-speed shooting showed that the vibrations of artificial ligaments are consistent with the present.

When transplanted into mice, the grown tissue is not torn away, which opens up great opportunities for artificial voice restoration.

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