Computational study of growth and remodelling in the aortic arch

Patrick W. Alford, Larry A. Taber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Opening angles (OAs) are associated with growth and remodelling in arteries. One curiosity has been the relatively large OAs found in the aortic arch of some animals. Here, we use computational models to explore the reasons behind this phenomenon. The artery is assumed to contain a smooth muscle/collagen phase and an elastin phase. In the models, growth and remodelling of smooth muscle/collagen depends on wall stress and fluid shear stress. Remodelling of elastin, which normally turns over very slowly, is neglected. The results indicate that OAs generally increase with longitudinal curvature (torus model), earlier elastin production during development, and decreased wall stiffness. Correlating these results with available experimental data suggests that all of these effects may contribute to the large OAs in the aortic arch. The models also suggest that the slow turnover rate of elastin limits longitudinal growth. These results should promote increased understanding of the causes of residual stress in arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-538
Number of pages14
JournalComputer methods in biomechanics and biomedical engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants R01 GM075200 (LAT) and R01 HL64372 (PI: Jay Humphrey). We thank Guy Genin for suggesting the diffusion control of lumen size and shape used in the analysis.


  • Artery
  • Tissue mechanics
  • Torus
  • Vascular development
  • Vascular mechanics
  • Wall stress


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