The biomechanical response of tissues serves as a valuable marker in the prediction of disease and in understanding the related behavior of the body under various disease and age states. Alterations in the macroscopic biomechanical response of diseased tissues are well documented; however, a thorough understanding of the microstructural events that lead to these changes is poorly understood. In this article we introduce a novel microbiaxial optomechanical device that allows two-photon imaging techniques to be coupled with macromechanical stimulation in hydrated planar tissue specimens. This allows that the mechanical response of the microstructure can be quantified and related to the macroscopic response of the same tissue sample. This occurs without the need to fix tissue in strain states that could introduce a change in the microstructural configuration. We demonstrate the passive realignment of fibrous proteins under various types of loading, which demonstrates the ability of tissue microstructure to reinforce itself in periods of high stress. In addition, the collagen and elastin response of tissue during viscoelastic behavior is reported showing interstitial fluid movement and fiber realignment potentially responsible for the temporal behavior. We also demonstrate that nonhomogeneities in fiber strain exist over biaxial regions of assumed homogeneity.
- porcine coronary artery
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