OBJECTIVES Vocal fold (VF) scarring remains a therapeutic challenge. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) facilitates epithelial wound healing, and recently, growth factor therapy has been applied to promote tissue repair. This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of GM-CSF on VF wound healing in vivo and in vitro. METHODS VF scarring was induced in New Zealand white rabbits by direct injury. Immediately thereafter, either GM-CSF or PBS was injected into the VFs of rabbits. Endoscopic, histopathological, immunohistochemical, and biomechanical evaluations of VFs were performed at 3 months post-injury. Human vocal fold fibroblasts (hVFFs) were cultured with GM-CSF. Production of type I and III collagen was examined immunocytochemically, and the synthesis of elastin and hyaluronic acids was evaluated by ELISA. The mRNA levels of genes related to ECM components and ECM production-related growth factors, such as HGF and TGF-ß1, were examined by real time RT-PCR. RESULTS The GM-CSF-treated VFs showed reduced collagen deposition in comparison to the PBS-injected controls (P<0.05). Immunohistochemical staining revealed lower amounts of type I collagen and fibronectin in the GM-CSF-treated VFs (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively). Viscous and elastic shear moduli of VF samples were significantly lower in the GM-CSF group than in the PBS-injected group (P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively). Mucosal waves in the GM-CSF group showed significant improvement when compared to the PBS group (P = 0.0446). GM-CSF inhibited TGF-β1-induced collagen synthesis by hVFFs (P<0.05) and the production of hyaluronic acids increased at 72 hours post-treatment (P<0.05). The expressions of HAS-2, tropoelastin, MMP-1, HGF, and c-Met mRNA were significantly increased by GM-CSF, although at different time points (P<0.05). CONCLUSION The present study shows that GM-CSF offers therapeutic potential for the remodeling of VF wounds and the promotion of VF regeneration.