Determination of layer-specific mechanical properties of human coronary arteries with nonatherosclerotic intimal thickening and related constitutive modeling

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Nov;289(5):H2048-58. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00934.2004. Epub 2005 Jul 8.


At autopsy, 13 nonstenotic human left anterior descending coronary arteries [71.5 +/- 7.3 (mean +/- SD) yr old] were harvested, and related anamnesis was documented. Preconditioned prepared strips (n = 78) of segments from the midregion of the left anterior descending coronary artery from the individual layers in axial and circumferential directions were subjected to cyclic quasi-static uniaxial tension tests, and ultimate tensile stresses and stretches were documented. The ratio of outer diameter to total wall thickness was 0.189 +/- 0.014; ratios of adventitia, media, and intima thickness to total wall thickness were 0.4 +/- 0.03, 0.36 +/- 0.03, and 0.27 +/- 0.02, respectively; axial in situ stretch of 1.044 +/- 0.06 decreased with age. Stress-stretch responses for the individual tissues showed pronounced mechanical heterogeneity. The intima is the stiffest layer over the whole deformation domain, whereas the media in the longitudinal direction is the softest. All specimens exhibited small hysteresis and anisotropic and strong nonlinear behavior in both loading directions. The media and intima showed similar ultimate tensile stresses, which are on average three times smaller than ultimate tensile stresses in the adventitia (1,430 +/- 604 kPa circumferential and 1,300 +/- 692 kPa longitudinal). The ultimate tensile stretches are similar for all tissue layers. A recently proposed constitutive model was extended and used to represent the deformation behavior for each tissue type over the entire loading range. The study showed the need to model nonstenotic human coronary arteries with nonatherosclerotic intimal thickening as a composite structure composed of three solid mechanically relevant layers with different mechanical properties. The intima showed significant thickness, load-bearing capacity, and mechanical strength compared with the media and adventitia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Anisotropy
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ischemic Preconditioning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tensile Strength