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Technical Brief

Biaxial Mechanical Assessment of the Murine Vaginal Wall Using Extension-Inflation Testing

[+] Author and Article Information
Kathryn M. Robison

ASME Member, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA
krobison@tulane.edu

Cassandra K. Conway

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA
cconway2@tulane.edu

Laurephile Desrosiers

Department of Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, Ochsner Clinical School, 1514 Jefferson Highway, New Orleans, LA 70121
laurephile.desrosiers@ochsner.org

Leise R. Knoepp

Department of Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, Ochsner Clinical School, 1514 Jefferson Highway, New Orleans, LA 70121
lknoepp@ochsner.org

Kristin S. Miller

ASME Member, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA
kmille11@tulane.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037559 History: Received February 08, 2017; Revised August 01, 2017

Abstract

Progress towards understanding the underlying mechanisms of pelvic organ prolapse is limited, in part, due to a lack of information on the biomechanical properties and microstructural composition of the vaginal wall. Compromised vaginal wall integrity is thought to contribute to pelvic floor disorders; however, normal structure-function relationships within the vaginal wall are not fully understood. In addition to the information produced from uniaxial testing, biaxial extension-inflation tests performed over a range of physiological values could provide additional insights into vaginal wall mechanical behavior (i.e. axial coupling and anisotropy), while preserving in vivo tissue geometry. Thus, we present experimental methods of assessing murine vaginal wall biaxial mechanical properties using extension-inflation protocols. Geometrically intact vaginal samples taken from 16 female C57BL/6 mice underwent pressure-diameter and force-length preconditioning and testing within a pressure myograph device. A bilinear curve fit was applied to the local stress-stretch data to quantify the transition stress and stretch as well as the toe- and linear-region moduli. The murine vaginal wall demonstrated a nonlinear response resembling that of other soft tissues, and evaluation of bilinear curve fits suggests that the vagina exhibits pseudoelasticity, axial coupling, and anisotropy. The protocols developed herein permit quantification of biaxial tissue properties. These methods can be utilized in future studies in order to assess evolving structure function relationships with respect to aging, the onset of prolapse, and response to potential clinical interventions.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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