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Technical Brief

Contractile Smooth Muscle and Active Stress Generation in Porcine Common Carotids

[+] Author and Article Information
Boran Zhou

Department of Radiology,
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine,
Rochester, MN 55905

David A. Prim, Liam P. McNamara

College of Engineering and Computing, Biomedical
Engineering Program,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

Eva J. Romito

College of Engineering and Computing, Biomedical
Engineering Program,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208;
Cardiovascular Translational Research Center,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

Francis G. Spinale

Cardiovascular Translational Research Center,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208;
School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology
and Anatomy,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

Tarek Shazly

College of Engineering and Computing, Biomedical
Engineering Program,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208;
College of Engineering and Computing,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

John F. Eberth

College of Engineering and Computing,
Biomedical Engineering Program,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208;
School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology
and Anatomy,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208
e-mail: john.eberth@uscmed.sc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received May 17, 2017; final manuscript received September 14, 2017; published online November 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Guy M. Genin.

J Biomech Eng 140(1), 014501 (Nov 09, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: BIO-17-1220; doi: 10.1115/1.4037949 History: Received May 17, 2017; Revised September 14, 2017

The mechanical response of intact blood vessels to applied loads can be delineated into passive and active components using an isometric decomposition approach. Whereas the passive response is due predominantly to the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and amorphous ground substance, the active response depends on the presence of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and the contractile machinery activated within those cells. To better understand determinants of active stress generation within the vascular wall, we subjected porcine common carotid arteries (CCAs) to biaxial inflation–extension testing under maximally contracted or passive SMC conditions and semiquantitatively measured two known markers of the contractile SMC phenotype: smoothelin and smooth muscle-myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC). Using isometric decomposition and established constitutive models, an intuitive but novel correlation between the magnitude of active stress generation and the relative abundance of smoothelin and SM-MHC emerged. Our results reiterate the importance of stretch-dependent active stress generation to the total mechanical response. Overall these findings can be used to decouple the mechanical contribution of SMCs from the ECM and is therefore a powerful tool in the analysis of disease states and potential therapies where both constituent are altered.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Pressure-deformed outer diameter (left) and axial force-pressure (right) relationships for a representative porcine common carotid artery (sample 3). The mechanical response was recorded under conditions of maximally contracted (•) and fully relaxed (○) SMC states, and at three axial stretch ratios (λz) that span the in situ value. Error bars represent the standard deviation of three repeat measurements on the same vessel.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Representative (top) total stress after isometric contraction (middle), passive stress and (bottom) active circumferential stress–stretch relationships for a porcine common carotid artery at three levels of axial stretch (sample 3). Error bars represent the standard deviation of three repeat measurements on the same vessel. Data points indicate experimentally recorded values, while solid/dashed lines indicate theoretical predictions.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Histological images (sample 2) of the porcine CCAs at 100× magnification: (a) Verhoeff's elastic fiber counterstained with methyl blue, (b) Hematoxylin and Eosin, (c) smoothelin DAB immunostaining with thresholded inset, and (d) smooth muscle-myosin heavy chain DAB immunostaining with thresholded inset

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Second-order polynomial fit between the mean active circumferential stress (λθ = 1.42, λz = 1.6) and smoothelin (•) and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain SM-MHC (×) density (area positively stained/area all tissue) content in the porcine CCAs. Error bars ± STD mean.

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