Haemodynamics and wall remodelling of a growing cerebral aneurysm: a computational model

J Biomech. 2007;40(2):412-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.12.009. Epub 2006 Mar 9.


We have developed a computational simulation model for investigating an often postulated hypothesis connected with aneurysm growth. This hypothesis involves a combination of two parallel and interconnected mechanisms: according to the first mechanism, an endothelium-originating and wall shear stress-driven apoptotic behavior of smooth muscle cells, leading to loss of vascular tone is believed to be important to the aneurysm behavior. Vascular tone refers to the degree of constriction experienced by a blood vessel relative to its maximally dilated state. All resistance and capacitance vessels under basal conditions exhibit some degree of smooth muscle contraction that determines the diameter, and hence tone, of the vessel. The second mechanism is connected to the arterial wall remodeling. Remodeling of the arterial wall under constant tension is a biomechanical process of rupture, degradation and reconstruction of the medial elastin and collagen fibers. In order to investigate these two mechanisms within a computationally tractable framework, we devise mechanical analogues that involve three-dimensional haemodynamics, yielding estimates of the wall shear stress and pressure fields and a quasi-steady approach for the apoptosis and remodeling of the wall. These analogues are guided by experimental information for the connection of stimuli to responses at a cellular level, properly averaged over volumes or surfaces. The model predicts aneurysm growth and can attribute specific roles to the two mechanisms involved: the smooth muscle cell-related loss of tone is important to the initiation of aneurysm growth, but cannot account alone for the formation of fully grown sacks; the fiber-related remodeling is pivotal for the latter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Hemorheology*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stress, Mechanical