Constitutive modeling using structural information on collagen fiber direction and dispersion in human superficial femoral artery specimens of different ages

Majid Jadidi, Selda Sherifova, Gerhard Sommer, Alexey Kamenskiy*, Gerhard A Holzapfel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arterial mechanics plays an important role in vascular pathophysiology and repair, and advanced imaging can inform constitutive models of vascular behavior. We have measured the mechanical properties of 14 human superficial femoral arteries (SFAs) (age 12-70, mean 48±19 years) using planar biaxial extension, and determined the preferred collagen fiber direction and dispersion using multiphoton microscopy. The collagen fiber direction and dispersion were evaluated using second-harmonic generation imaging and modeled using bivariate von Mises distributions. The microstructures of elastin and collagen were assessed using two-photon fluorescence imaging and conventional bidirectional histology. The mechanical and structural data were used to describe the SFA mechanical behavior using two- and four-fiber family invariant-based constitutive models. Older SFAs were stiffer and mechanically more nonlinear than younger specimens. In the adventitia, collagen fibers were undulated and diagonally-oriented, while in the media, they were straight and circumferentially-oriented. The media was rich in collagen that surrounded the circumferentially-oriented smooth muscle cells, and the elastin was present primarily in the internal and external elastic laminae. Older SFAs had a more circumferential collagen fiber alignment, a decreased circumferential-radial fiber dispersion, but the same circumferential-longitudinal fiber dispersion as younger specimens. Both the two- and the four-fiber family constitutive models were able to capture the experimental data, and the fits were better for the four-fiber family formulation. Our data provide additional details on the SFA intramural structure and inform structurally-based constitutive models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-474
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Biaxial data
  • Collagen structure
  • Constitutive model
  • Second-harmonic generation imaging
  • Superficial femoral artery
  • Two-photon fluorescence imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials

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