An Investigation of Layer-Specific Tissue Biomechanics of Porcine Atrioventricular Valve Anterior Leaflets
40 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019 Publication Status: Accepted
The atrioventricular heart valves (AHVs) are composed of structurally complex and morphologically heterogeneous leaflets. The coaptation of these leaflets during the cardiac cycle facilitates unidirectional blood flow and prevents regurgitation. Valve regurgitation is treated preferably by surgical repair if possible or replacement based on the disease state of the valve tissue. A comprehensive understanding of valvular morphology and mechanical properties is crucial to refining computational models, serving as a patient-specific diagnostic and surgical tool for preoperative planning. Previous studies have modeled the stress distribution throughout the thickness of the heterogeneous leaflet, but validations with layer-specific biaxial mechanical experiments are missing. In this study, we sought to fill this gap in literature by investigating the impact of microstructure constituents on mechanical behavior throughout the thickness of the AHVs’ anterior leaflets. Porcine mitral valve anterior leaflets (MVAL) and tricuspid valve anterior leaflets (TVAL) were micro-dissected into 3 layers (atrialis/spongiosa, fibrosa, and ventricular) and 2 layers (atrialis/spongiosa and fibrosa/ventricularis), respectively, based on their relative distributions of extracellular matrix (ECM) components as quantified by histological analyses: collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans. Our results suggest that: (i) the atrialis/spongiosa layer, for both valves, is the most extensible and anisotropic layer, (ii) the intact TVAL response is stiffer than the atrialis/spongiosa layer but more compliant than the fibrosa/ventricularis layer, and (iii) the MVAL fibrosa and ventricularis layers behave nearly isotropic. These novel findings emphasize the biomechanical variances throughout the AHV leaflets, and our results will be useful to better inform AHV computational models.
Keywords: biaxial mechanical testing, the mitral and tricuspid valves, valve tissue biomechanics, morphological analysis, microdissection, extracellular matrix
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