Axial mechanical properties of fresh human cerebral blood vessels

J Biomech Eng. 2003 Apr;125(2):288-94. doi: 10.1115/1.1554412.


Human cerebral blood vessels are frequently damaged in head impact, whether accidental or deliberate, resulting in intracranial bleeding. Additionally, the vasculature constitutes the support structure for the brain and, hence, plays a key role in the cranial load response. Quantification of its mechanical behavior, including limiting loads, is thus required for a proper understanding and modeling of traumatic brain injury--as well as providing substantial assistance in the development and application of preventive measures. It is believed that axial stretching is the dominant loading mode for the blood vessels, regardless of the nature of the insult. Eighteen arteries and fourteen veins were obtained from the cortical surface of the cerebral temporal lobe of patients undergoing surgery. These vessels were stretched to failure in the longitudinal direction, either quasi-statically or dynamically. The significance of specimen and experiment parameters was determined using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) testing. Results demonstrate that the arteries were considerably stiffer than the veins, carrying approximately twice as much stress at failure but withstanding only half as much stretch. No significant rate dependence was measured over a strain rate range of more than four orders of magnitude (0.01 to 500 s -1).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiology*
  • Cerebral Veins / physiology*
  • Culture Techniques
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Motion
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tensile Strength