Significance of source and size in the mechanical response of human cerebral blood vessels

J Biomech. 2005 Apr;38(4):737-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2004.05.004.


Cerebral blood vessels are frequently damaged in traumatic brain injury. Mechanical properties of fresh human cerebral vessels obtained through surgeries have been reported. Because surgical sources of human specimens are rare and produce a limited amount of material, we sought to compare the properties of more readily available cerebral arteries and veins obtained from cadavers to fresh vessel data. Additionally, because the previous study was limited to small vessels available in surgery, it was unknown how generally applicable the results were to larger cerebral arteries and veins. In the current study, large and small cerebral vessels from autopsy were stretched axially. Data from these and similar tests on fresh vessels were combined to determine the significance of source and size on mechanical properties. Structural comparisons of histological samples were additionally utilized to characterize differences. Results indicate that specimens from autopsy and surgery behave similarly except that vessels from autopsy tend to be less extensible. While tests on large vessels were limited, small arteries obtained from autopsy tended to be slightly stiffer than large arteries. In contrast, bridging veins from cadavers were typically stiffer and stretched less before structural failure than cortical veins from the same source. These effects are, however, secondary to differences identified between arteries and veins in the previous study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Cerebral Arteries*
  • Cerebral Veins*
  • Elasticity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged