Efficient computational modelling of smooth muscle orientation and function in the aorta

Malte Rolf-Pissarczyk, Maximilian Peter Wollner, Douglas Ramalho Queiroz Pacheco, Gerhard Holzapfel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the mechanical effects of smooth muscle cell (SMC) contraction on the initiation and the propagation of cardiovascular diseases such as aortic dissection is critical. Framed by elastic lamellar sheets in the lamellar unit, there are SMCs in the media with a distinct radial tilt, which indicates their contribution to the radial strength. However, the mechanical effects of this type of anisotropy have not been fully discussed. Therefore, in this study, we propose a constitutive framework that models the passive and active mechanics of the aorta, taking into account the dispersed nature of the aortic constituents by applying the discrete fibre dispersion method. We suggest an isoparametric approach by evaluating various numerical integration methods and introducing a non-uniform discretization of the unit hemisphere to increase its computational efficiency. Finally, the constitutive parameters are fitted to layer-specific experimental data and initial computational results are briefly presented. The radial tilt of SMCs is also analysed, which has a noticeable influence on the mechanical behaviour of the aorta. In the absence of sufficient experimental data, the results indicate that the active contribution of SMCs has a remarkable impact on the mechanics of the healthy aorta.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20210592
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A
Issue number2255
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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