Effects of collagen heterogeneity on myocardial infarct mechanics in a multiscale fiber network model

Christopher E. Korenczuk, Victor H. Barocas, William J. Richardson

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5 Scopus citations


The scar that forms after a myocardial infarction is often characterized by a highly disordered architecture but generally exhibits some degree of collagen fiber orientation, with a resulting mechanical anisotropy. When viewed in finer detail, however, the heterogeneity of the sample is clear, with different subregions exhibiting different fiber orientations. In this work, we used a multiscale finite element model to explore the consequences of the heterogeneity in terms of mechanical behavior. To do so, we used previously obtained fiber alignment maps of rat myocardial scar slices (n=15) to generate scar-specific finite element meshes that were populated with fiber models based on the local alignment state. These models were then compared to isotropic models with the same sample shape and fiber density, and to homogeneous models with the same sample shape, fiber density, and average fiber alignment as the scar-specific models. All simulations involved equibiaxial extension of the sample with free motion in the third dimension. We found that heterogeneity led to a lower degree of mechanical anisotropy and a higher level of local stress concentration than the corresponding homogeneous model, and also that fibers failed in the heterogeneous model at much lower macroscopic strains than in the isotropic and homogeneous models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number091015
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. 00039202 (CEK). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge Jeff Holmes (Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia) for originally sharing infarct histology images, and the following funding sources: NIH COBRE 1P20GM130451 (WJR), NIH R01 EB005813 (VHB, CEK), and U01 HL139471 (VHB, CEK). CEK is a recipient of the Richard Pyle Scholar Award from the ARCS Foundation. The authors also acknowledge the technical support of Shannen Kizilski, and computational resources provided by the University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 by ASME.


  • Collagen
  • Heterogeneity
  • Multiscale finite element
  • Myocardial infarct
  • Scar


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