Myofibrils in Cardiomyocytes Tend to Assemble Along the Maximal Principle Stress Directions

[+] Author and Article Information
Hongyan Yuan

Department of Mechanical, Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881 USA

Bahador Marzban

Department of Mechanical, Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881 USA

Kevin Kit Parker

Disease Biophysics Group, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037795 History: Received June 02, 2017; Revised August 27, 2017


The mechanisms underlying the spatial organization of self-assembled myofibrils in cardiac tissues remain incompletely understood. By modeling cells as elastic solids under active cytoskeletal contraction, we found a good correlation between the predicted maximal principal stress directions and the in vitro myofibril orientations in individual cardiomyocytes. This implies that actomyosin fibers tend to assemble along the maximal tensile stress directions. By considering the dynamics of focal adhesion and myofibril formation in the model, we showed that the different patterns of myofibril organizations in mature versus immature cardiomyocytes can be explained as the consequence of the different levels of force-dependent remodeling of focal adhesions. Further we applied the mechanics model to cell pairs and showed that the myofibril organizations can be regulated by a combination of multiple factors including cell shape, cell-substrate adhesions, and cell-cell adhesions. This mechanics model can guide the rational design in cardiac tissue engineering where recapitulating in vivo myofibril organizations is crucial to the contractile function of the heart.

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