A microstructurally motivated model of the mechanical behavior of tissue engineered blood vessels

Shannon L.M. Dahl, Megann E. Vaughn, Jin Jia Hu, Niels J.B. Driessen, Frank P.T. Baaijens, Jay D. Humphrey, Laura E. Niklason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Mechanical models have potential to guide the development and use of engineered blood vessels as well as other engineered tissues. This paper presents a microstructurally motivated, pseudoelastic, mechanical model of the biaxial mechanics of engineered vessels in the physiologic pressure range. The model incorporates experimentally measured densities and alignments of engineered collagen. Specifically, these microstructural and associated mechanical inputs were measured directly from engineered blood vessels that were cultured over periods of 5-7.5 weeks. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first successful application of either a phenomenological or a microstructurally motivated mechanical model to engineered vascular tissues. Model development revealed the need to use novel theoretical configurations to describe the strain history of engineered vessels. The constitutive equations developed herein suggested that collagen remodeled between 5 and 7.5 weeks during a 7.5-week culture period. This remodeling led to strain energies for collagen that differed with alignment, which likely resulted from undulations that varied with alignment. Finally, biaxial data emphasized that axial extensions increase stresses in engineered vessels in the physiologic pressure range, thereby providing a guideline for surgical use: engineered vessels should be implanted at appropriate axial extension to minimize adverse stress responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1792
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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