Characterizing Tissue Remodeling and Mechanical Heterogeneity in Cerebral Aneurysms

Elizabeth D. Shih, Paolo P. Provenzano, Colleen M. Witzenburg, Victor H. Barocas, Andrew W. Grande, Patrick W. Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Accurately assessing the complex tissue mechanics of cerebral aneurysms (CAs) is critical for elucidating how CAs grow and whether that growth will lead to rupture. The factors that have been implicated in CA progression - blood flow dynamics, immune infiltration, and extracellular matrix remodeling - all occur heterogeneously throughout the CA. Thus, it stands to reason that the mechanical properties of CAs are also spatially heterogeneous. Here, we present a new method for characterizing the mechanical heterogeneity of human CAs using generalized anisotropic inverse mechanics, which uses biaxial stretching experiments and inverse analyses to determine the local Kelvin moduli and principal alignments within the tissue. Using this approach, we find that there is significant mechanical heterogeneity within a single acquired human CA. These results were confirmed using second harmonic generation imaging of the CA's fiber architecture and a correlation was observed. This approach provides a single-step method for determining the complex heterogeneous mechanics of CAs, which has important implications for future identification of metrics that can improve accuracy in prediction risk of rupture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The current study was supported by USA National Science Foundation (CMMI 1553255, P.W.A.), University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine seed grant (A.W.G., P.W.A.), National Institutes of Health (U01 HL139471, V.H.B., P.W.A.), and Physical Sciences Oncology Center (U54CA210190, P.P.P.,P.W.A.,V.H.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Aneurysms
  • Biomechanics
  • Heterogeneity


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