A multiscale mechanobiological modelling framework using agent-based models and finite element analysis: application to vascular tissue engineering

  • Houman Zahedmanesh
  • Caitríona Lally
Original Paper


Computational models of mechanobiological systems have been widely used to provide insight into these systems and also to predict their behaviour. In this context, vascular tissue engineering benefits from further attention given the challenges involved in developing functional low calibre vascular grafts with long-term patency. In this study, a novel multiscale mechanobiological modelling framework is presented, which takes advantage of lattice-free agent-based models coupled with the finite element method to investigate the dynamics of VSMC growth in vascular tissue engineering scaffolds. The results illustrate the ability of the mechanobiological modelling approach to capture complex multiscale mechanobiological phenomena. Specifically, the framework enabled the study of the influence of scaffold compliance and loading regime in regulating the growth of VSMCs in vascular scaffolds and their role in development of intimal hyperplasia (IH). The model demonstrates that low scaffold compliance compared to host arteries leads to increased luminal ingrowth and IH development. In addition, culture of a tissue-engineered blood vessel under a pulsatile luminal pressure reduced luminal ingrowth and enhanced collagen synthesis within the scaffold compared to non-pulsatile culture. The mechanobiological framework presented provides a robust platform for testing hypotheses in vascular tissue engineering and lends itself to use as an optimisation design tool.


Agent-based model (ABM) Vascular tissue engineering Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) Mechanobiology Finite element method (FEM) 


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© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringDublin City UniversityGlasnevin, Dublin 9Ireland

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