Arteries play a critical role in carrying essential nutrients and oxygen throughout the brain; however, vessels can become damaged in traumatic brain injury (TBI), putting neural tissue at risk. Even in the absence of hemorrhage, large deformations can disrupt both the physiological and mechanical behavior of the cerebral vessels. Our group recently reported the effect of vessel overstretch on axial mechanics; however, that work did not address possible changes in circumferential mechanics that are critical to the regulation of blood flow. In order to address this in the present work, ovine middle cerebral arteries were isolated and overstretched axially to 10, 20, or 40% beyond the in vivo configuration. Results showed a statistically significant decrease in circumferential stiffness and strain energy, as well as an increase in vessel diameter following 40% overstretch (p < 0.05). These passive changes would lead to a decrease in vascular resistance and likely play a role in previous reports of cellular dysfunction. We anticipate that our findings will both increase understanding of vessel softening phenomena and also promote improved modeling of cerebrovascular mechanics following head trauma.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.