Living tissues show an adaptive response to mechanical loading by changing their internal structure and morphology. Understanding this response is essential for successful tissue engineering of load-bearing structures, such as the aortic valve. In this study, mechanically induced remodeling of the collagen architecture in the aortic valve was investigated. It was hypothesized that, in uniaxially loaded regions, the fibers aligned with the tensile principal stretch direction. For biaxial loading conditions, on the other hand, it was assumed that the collagen fibers aligned with directions situated between the principal stretch directions. This hypothesis has already been applied successfully to study collagen remodeling in arteries. The predicted fiber architecture represented a branching network and resembled the macroscopically visible collagen bundles in the native leaflet. In addition, the complex biaxial mechanical behavior of the native valve could be simulated qualitatively with the predicted fiber directions. The results of the present model might be used to gain further insight into the response of tissue engineered constructs during mechanical conditioning.
Improved Prediction of the Collagen Fiber Architecture in the Aortic Heart Valve
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Driessen, N. J. B., Bouten, C. V. C., and Baaijens, F. P. T. (September 16, 2004). "Improved Prediction of the Collagen Fiber Architecture in the Aortic Heart Valve." ASME. J Biomech Eng. April 2005; 127(2): 329–336. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1865187
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