Linear viscoelastic behavior of subcutaneous adipose tissue

Biorheology. 2008;45(6):677-88.


Subcutaneous adipose tissue contributes to the overall mechanical behavior of the skin. Until today, however, no thorough constitutive model is available for this layer of tissue. As a start to the development of such a model, the objective of this study was to measure and describe the linear viscoelastic behavior of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Although large strains occur in vivo, this work only focuses on the linear behavior to show the applicability of the described methods to adipose tissue. Shear experiments are performed on porcine samples on a rotational rheometer using parallel plate geometry. In the linear viscoelastic regime, up to 0.1% strain, the storage and loss modulus showed a frequency- and temperature-dependent behavior. The ratio between the two moduli, the phase angle, did not show any dependency on temperature and frequency. The shear modulus was found to be 7.5 kPa at 10 rad/s and 37 degrees C. Time-temperature superposition was applicable through shifting the shear modulus horizontally. A power-law function model was introduced to describe both the frequency dependent behavior at constant temperature and the stress relaxation behavior. In addition, the effect of snap freezing as a preservation method was analyzed. Histological examination demonstrated possible tissue damage after freezing, but the mechanical properties did not change. Since results were reproducible, it is concluded that the methods we used are most probably suited to explore the non-linear behavior of subcutaneous adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Elasticity
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Rheology
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Subcutaneous Fat / physiology*
  • Swine
  • Temperature
  • Viscosity