Recent work has demonstrated that enzymatic degradation of collagen fibers exhibits strain-dependent kinetics. Conceptualizing how the strain dependence affects remodeling of collagenous tissues is vital to our understanding of collagen management in native and bioengineered tissues. As a first step towards this goal, the current study puts forward a multiscale model for enzymatic degradation and remodeling of collagen networks for two sample geometries we routinely use in experiments as model tissues. The multiscale model, driven by microstructural data from an enzymatic decay experiment, includes an exponential strain-dependent kinetic relation for degradation and constant growth. For a dogbone sample under uniaxial load, the model predicted that the distribution of fiber diameters would spread over the course of degradation because of variation in individual fiber load. In a cross-shaped sample, the central region, which experiences smaller, more isotropic loads, showed more decay and less spread in fiber diameter compared to the arms. There was also a slight shift in average orientation in different regions of the cruciform.
- Matrix metalloproteinase
- Tissue mechanics