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Combining in vivo and in vitro biomechanical data reveals key roles of perivascular tethering in central artery function

Jacopo Ferruzzi, Paolo Di Achille, George Tellides, Jay D Humphrey
Considerable insight into effectors of cardiovascular function can be gleaned from controlled studies on mice, especially given the diverse models that are available. Toward this end, however, there is a need for consistent and complementary methods of in vivo and in vitro data analysis, synthesis, and interpretation. The overall objective of this study is twofold. First, we present new semi-automated methods to quantify in vivo measurements of vascu- lar function in anesthetized mice as well as new approaches to synthesize these data with those from in vitro biaxial mechanical characterizations. Second, we contrast regional differ- ences in biomechanical behaviors along the central vasculature by combining biaxial strains measured in vivo with data on the unloaded geometry and biaxial material properties mea- sured in vitro. Results support the hypothesis that the healthy ascending aorta stores signifi- cant elastic energy during systole, which is available to work on the heart and blood during diastole, particularly during periods of physical exertion, and further suggest that perivascu- lar tethering allows arteries to work at lower values of wall stress and material stiffness than often assumed. The numerous measurements of vascular function and properties provided herein can also serve as reference values for normal wild-type male and female mice, to which values for myriad genetic, surgical, and pharmacological models can be compared in future studies.

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