Rheological Properties of the Tissues of the Central Nervous System: A Review

Med Eng Phys. 2008 Dec;30(10):1318-37. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


Knowledge of the biomechanical properties of central nervous system (CNS) tissues is important for understanding mechanisms and thresholds for injury, and aiding development of computer or surrogate models of these tissues. Many investigations have been conducted to estimate the properties of CNS tissues including under shear, compressive and tensile loading, however there is much variability in this body of literature, making it difficult to separate the material properties from effects that result from a given experimental protocol. This review summarises previous studies of brain and spinal cord properties; discussing their main findings and points of difference, and displays the reported data on comparable scales. Additionally, based on the observed effects of methodological choices on reported tissue properties, recommendations for future studies of brain and spinal cord properties are made.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing / instrumentation*
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Rheology / instrumentation*
  • Rheology / methods*
  • Shear Strength
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Viscosity