Age-dependent material properties of the porcine cerebrum: effect on pediatric inertial head injury criteria

J Biomech. 1998 Dec;31(12):1119-26. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(98)00122-5.


During growth and development, the immature central nervous system undergoes rapid alterations in constituents and structure. We hypothesize that these alterations are accompanied by changes in the mechanical properties of brain tissue which, in turn, influence the response of the brain to traumatic inertial loads. Samples of frontal cerebrum from neonatal (2-3 days) and adult pigs were harvested and tested within 3 h post-mortem. The complex shear modulus of the samples was measured in a custom-designed oscillatory shear testing device at engineering shear strain amplitudes of 2.5% or 5% from 20-200 Hz, at 25 degrees C and 100% humidity. In this range, the elastic and viscous components of the complex shear modulus increased significantly with the development of the cerebral region of the brain. Using an idealized model of the developing head, the age-dependent material properties of brain tissue were shown to affect the mechanical response of the brain to inertial loading. This study is a first step toward developing head injury tolerance criteria specifically for the pediatric population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Elasticity
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Swine
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / physiology
  • Viscosity