In Reinke's space of human vocal fold, type III collagen forms a three dimensional network and this contains numerous minute chambers in between these fibers. These compartments are occupied by glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins. In laryngeal fold lesions, such as Reinke's edema and vocal fold polyps, proteoglycan (PG)/hyaluronic acid (HA) components of extracellular matrix increased. We investigated the size and quantity of the minute chambers within Reinke's space, filled with PG/HA with the aid of transmission electron microscopy. Eight vocal fold polyps and 10 mucosal biopsies (as control group) were all evaluated by light microscopy and electron microscopy. We detected that PG/HA in extracellular matrix had been increased in vocal fold lesions when compared with control group, by Alcian Blue-pH 2.5 stain. The mean volume of the chambers in Reinke's space of normal larynx was measured as 0.040233 /mu m(2) whereas the mean volume of these chambers in vocal fold polyps was measured as 6.420221 mu m(2) The difference between the volumes of these chambers in vocal fold polyps and in control group was statistically significant (P = 0.001). Within these chambers PG/HA were found and PG/HA filling these chambers were increased in vocal fold polyps. We think proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycans, especially HA, play an important role in determining biochemical properties of vocal fold lesions.