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Research Papers

Modeling of Fibroblast-Controlled Strengthening and Remodeling of Uniaxially Constrained Collagen Gels

[+] Author and Article Information
Martin Kroon1

Department of Solid Mechanics, Royal Institute of Technology, Osquars Backe 1, 100 44 Stockholm, Swedenmartin@hallf.kth.se

1

Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 132(11), 111008 (Oct 20, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002666 History: Received December 16, 2008; Revised July 25, 2009; Posted September 30, 2010; Published October 20, 2010; Online October 20, 2010

A theoretical model for the remodeling of collagen gels is proposed. The collagen fabric is modeled as a network of collagen fibers, which in turn are composed of collagen fibrils. In the model, the strengthening of collagen fabric is accomplished by fibroblasts, which continuously recruit and attach more collagen fibrils to existing collagen fibers. The fibroblasts also accomplish a reorientation of collagen fibers. Fibroblasts are assumed to reorient collagen fibers toward the direction of maximum material stiffness. The proposed model is applied to experiments in which fibroblasts were inserted into a collagen gel. The model is able to predict the force-strain curves for the experimental collagen gels, and the final distribution of collagen fibers also agrees qualitatively with the experiments.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Deformation of physiological matrix in which the collagen fibers are embedded. Deformation gradients Fmrm, Flf, and Fel describe the deformation of a line element between configurations Ω0, Ωmrm, Ωlf, and Ωel, respectively.

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Figure 2

Principle sketch of experimental set-up used by Huang (22)

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Figure 3

Estimated evolution of λmrm,2 during collagen remodeling in Ref. 22

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Figure 4

Experimental tensile test results from Ref. 22 and model predictions (no effect of local reorientation of collagen fabric included). Experimental results (solid lines) are shown for 7 days and 42 days of remodeling, as indicated in the figure. The associated model predictions (dashed lines) are also included (αρfb=0, a=2.5, and γρfbμA0=11 N/s). Engineering strain ε is defined as ε=λel,1−1. (a) Complete strain history and (b) close-up of elastic region.

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Figure 7

(a) Final fiber distribution (after 42 days) resulting from local reorientation of fibers and (b) final fiber distribution (after 42 days), where rotation caused by the average matrix deformation has also been added (model parameters: αρfb=1×10−3 s−1, a=2.5, and γρfbμA0=9 N/s)

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Figure 6

Experimental tensile test results from Ref. 22 and model predictions. Experimental results (solid lines) are shown for 7 days and 42 days of remodeling, as indicated in the figure. The associated model predictions (dashed lines) are also included (αρfb=1×10−3 s−1, a=2.5, and γρfbμA0=9 N/s). Engineering strain ε is defined as ε=λel,1−1. (a) Complete strain history and (b) close-up of elastic region.

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Figure 5

(a) Initial (isotropic) fiber distribution and (b) final fiber distribution (after 42 days) when only the average matrix deformation affects the fiber reorientation (model parameters: αρfb=0, a=2.5, and γρfbμA0=11 N/s)

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