, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 1419-1433
Date: 12 Jan 2012

Impact of Residual Stretch and Remodeling on Collagen Engagement in Healthy and Pulmonary Hypertensive Calf Pulmonary Arteries at Physiological Pressures

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Understanding the mechanical behavior of proximal pulmonary arteries (PAs) is crucial to evaluating pulmonary vascular function and right ventricular afterload. Early and current efforts focus on these arteries’ histological changes, in vivo pressure–diameter behavior and mechanical properties under in vitro mechanical testing. However, the in vivo stretch and stress states remain poorly characterized. To further understand the mechanical behavior of the proximal PAs under physiological conditions, this study computed the residual stretch and the in vivo circumferential stretch state in the main pulmonary arteries in both control and hypertensive calves by using in vitro and in vivo artery geometry data, and modeled the impact of residual stretch and arterial remodeling on the in vivo circumferential stretch distribution and collagen engagement in the main pulmonary artery. We found that the in vivo circumferential stretch distribution in both groups was nonuniform across the vessel wall with the largest stretch at the outer wall, suggesting that collagen at the outer wall would engage first. It was also found that the circumferential stretch was more uniform in the hypertensive group, partially due to arterial remodeling that occurred during their hypoxic treatment, and that their onset of collagen engagement occurred at a higher pressure. It is concluded that the residual stretch and arterial remodeling have strong impact on the in vivo stretch state and the collagen engagement and thus the mechanical behavior of the main pulmonary artery in calves.

Associate Editor Jane Grande-Allen oversaw the review of this article.