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Parametric study of effects of collagen turnover on the natural history of abdominal aortic aneurysms. (English) Zbl 1371.92069
Summary: Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are characterized by significant changes in the architecture of the aortic wall, notably, loss of functional elastin and smooth muscle. Because collagen is the principal remaining load-bearing constituent of the aneurysmal wall, its turnover must play a fundamental role in the natural history of the lesion. Nevertheless, detailed investigations of the effects of different aspects of collagen turnover on AAA development are lacking. A finite-element membrane model of the growth and remodelling of idealized AAAs was thus used to investigate parametrically four of the primary aspects of collagen turnover: rates of production, half-life, deposition stretch (prestretch) and material stiffness. The predicted rates of aneurysmal expansion and spatio-temporal changes in wall thickness, biaxial stresses and maximum collagen fibre stretch at the apex of the lesion depended strongly on all four factors, as did the predicted clinical endpoints (i.e. arrest, progressive expansion or rupture). Collagen turnover also affected the axial expansion, largely due to mechanical changes within the shoulder region of the lesion. We submit, therefore, that assessment of rupture risk could be improved by future experiments that delineate and quantify different aspects of patient-specific collagen turnover and that such understanding could lead to new targeted therapeutics.

92C50 Medical applications (general)
74L15 Biomechanical solid mechanics
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