Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 883–896 | Cite as

A computational model coupling mechanics and electrophysiology in spinal cord injury

  • Antoine JérusalemEmail author
  • Julián A. García-Grajales
  • Angel Merchán-Pérez
  • José M. Peña
Original Paper


Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury have recently been put under the spotlight as major causes of death and disability in the developed world. Despite the important ongoing experimental and modeling campaigns aimed at understanding the mechanics of tissue and cell damage typically observed in such events, the differentiated roles of strain, stress and their corresponding loading rates on the damage level itself remain unclear. More specifically, the direct relations between brain and spinal cord tissue or cell damage, and electrophysiological functions are still to be unraveled. Whereas mechanical modeling efforts are focusing mainly on stress distribution and mechanistic-based damage criteria, simulated function-based damage criteria are still missing. Here, we propose a new multiscale model of myelinated axon associating electrophysiological impairment to structural damage as a function of strain and strain rate. This multiscale approach provides a new framework for damage evaluation directly relating neuron mechanics and electrophysiological properties, thus providing a link between mechanical trauma and subsequent functional deficits.


Computational model Axon  Electrophysiology Mechanics Spinal cord injury 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 306587, from the Spanish Ministry of Science (TIN2010-21289-C02-02), and the Cajal Blue Brain Project, the Spanish partner of the Blue Brain Project. The authors gratefully acknowledge the computer resources, technical expertise and assistance provided by the Supercomputing and Visualization Center of Madrid (CeSViMa).

Supplementary material

10237_2013_543_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (203 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 202 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (avi 1700 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Jérusalem
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julián A. García-Grajales
    • 2
    • 3
  • Angel Merchán-Pérez
    • 4
    • 5
  • José M. Peña
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Universidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.IMDEA Materials InstituteMadridSpain
  4. 4.Laboratorio de Circuitos Corticales, Centro de Tecnología BiomédicaUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.DATSI, Computer ScienceUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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