, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 91-97
Date: 23 Nov 2012

Observation of local elastic distribution in aortic tissues under static strain condition by use of a scanning haptic microscope

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The purpose of this study was to observe variation in the local elastic distribution in aortic tissue walls under different static strain conditions, including physiological strain, by use of a scanning haptic microscope (SHM). Strain was applied by stretching aortic tissues in the circumferential direction by the simple tensile method or by the rod-insertion method to mimic in vivo internal pressure loading. SHM measurements in a saline solution at room temperature were performed on canine thoracic aorta using a glass needle probe with a diameter of ca 5 μm and a scanning area and point pitch of 160 × 80 μm and 2 μm, respectively. Under strain of 0–0.23, corresponding to internal pressure of 0–150 mmHg, wavy-shaped elastin fibers stretched until they were almost straightened, and the average elastic modulus increased almost linearly. Although there was little difference between the images obtained for the two different stretching methods, under high strain (>0.36; 250 mmHg) significant circumferential orientation of the collagen fibrils occurred with an increase in the average elastic modulus. It was concluded that the pressure resistance of the aorta under physiological strain was mainly afforded by elastin fibers; collagen fibrils contributed little except under much higher pressures.