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J Theor Biol. 1998 Jul 27;193(2):201-13.

Biomechanical growth laws for muscle tissue.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.


It is generally accepted that growth of muscle tissue depends in part on biomechanical factors. However, the precise relationships that govern mechanically induced growth are not known. This paper uses available data to propose a set of biomechanical growth laws for striated and smooth muscle. For striated muscle fibers, transverse and longitudinal growth are hypothesized to depend on the active and passive fiber stress, respectively. For smooth muscle fibers in arteries, transverse growth is assumed to depend on the fiber stress (active behavior is ignored), with longitudinal growth depending on both fiber stress and the shear stress on the endothelium due to blood flow. In both types of muscle, the rate of growth is assumed to depend linearly on the stresses. Relatively simple models for skeletal muscle, the heart, and arteries are used to show that the proposed growth laws can predict many of the known characteristics of muscle growth during development and following load perturbations in the mature animal.

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