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Ann Biomed Eng. 2005 Aug;33(8):1042-52.

A microstructural hyperelastic model of pulmonary arteries under normo- and hypertensive conditions.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, 427 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.


This work represents the first application of a statistical mechanics based microstructural orthotropic hyperelastic model to pulmonary artery mechanics under normotensive and hypertensive conditions. The model provides an analogy between the entangled network of long molecular chains and the structural protein framework seen in the medial layer, and relates the mechanical response at macro-level to the deformation (entropy change) of individual molecular chains at the micro-level. A finite element approach was adopted to implement the model. Material parameters were determined via comparing model output to measured pressure-stretch results from normotensive and hypertensive trunks and branches obtained from a rat model of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Results from this initial study show that this model appears reasonable for the study of hyperelastic and anisotropic pulmonary artery mechanics. Typical tangent modulus values ranged from 200 to 800 kPa for normotensive arteries-this increased to beyond 1 MPa for hypertensive vessels. Our study also provokes the hypothesis that increase of cross-linking density may be one mechanism by which the pulmonary artery stiffens in hypertension.

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