Original Paper

Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 371-382

First online:

The collagen fibril architecture in the lamina cribrosa and peripapillary sclera predicted by a computational remodeling approach

  • Rafael GrytzAffiliated withInstitute for Structural Mechanics, Ruhr-University BochumOcular Biomechanics Laboratory, Devers Eye Institute Email author 
  • , Günther MeschkeAffiliated withInstitute for Structural Mechanics, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , Jost B. JonasAffiliated withDepartment of Ophthalmology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg

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Abstract

The biomechanics of the optic nerve head is assumed to play an important role in ganglion cell loss in glaucoma. Organized collagen fibrils form complex networks that introduce strong anisotropic and nonlinear attributes into the constitutive response of the peripapillary sclera (PPS) and lamina cribrosa (LC) dominating the biomechanics of the optic nerve head. The recently presented computational remodeling approach (Grytz and Meschke in Biomech Model Mechanobiol 9:225–235, 2010) was used to predict the micro-architecture in the LC and PPS, and to investigate its impact on intraocular pressure–related deformations. The mechanical properties of the LC and PPS were derived from a microstructure-oriented constitutive model that included the stretch-dependent stiffening and the statistically distributed orientations of the collagen fibrils. Biomechanically induced adaptation of the local micro-architecture was captured by allowing collagen fibrils to be reoriented in response to the intraocular pressure–related loading conditions. In agreement with experimental observations, the remodeling algorithm predicted the existence of an annulus of fibrils around the scleral canal in the PPS, and a predominant radial orientation of fibrils in the periphery of the LC. The peripapillary annulus significantly reduced the intraocular pressure–related expansion of the scleral canal and shielded the LC from high tensile stresses. The radial oriented fibrils in the LC periphery reinforced the LC against transversal shear stresses and reduced LC bending deformations. The numerical approach presents a novel and reasonable biomechanical explanation of the spatial orientation of fibrillar collagen in the optic nerve head.

Keywords

Glaucoma Remodeling Collagen fibril networks Intraocular pressure Fiber dispersion Optic nerve head Lamina cribrosa Sclera