Functional mechanical behavior of the murine pulmonary heart valve

Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 8;13(1):12852. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-40158-w.


Genetically modified mouse models provide a versatile and efficient platform to extend our understanding of the underlying disease processes and evaluate potential treatments for congenital heart valve diseases. However, applications have been limited to the gene and molecular levels due to the small size of murine heart valves, which prohibits the use of standard mechanical evaluation and in vivo imaging methods. We have developed an integrated imaging/computational mechanics approach to evaluate, for the first time, the functional mechanical behavior of the murine pulmonary heart valve (mPV). We utilized extant mPV high resolution µCT images of 1-year-old healthy C57BL/6J mice, with mPVs loaded to 0, 10, 20 or 30 mmHg then chemically fixed to preserve their shape. Individual mPV leaflets and annular boundaries were segmented and key geometric quantities of interest defined and quantified. The resulting observed inter-valve variations were small and consistent at each TVP level. This allowed us to develop a high fidelity NURBS-based geometric model. From the resultant individual mPV geometries, we developed a mPV shape-evolving geometric model (SEGM) that accurately represented mPV shape changes as a continuous function of transvalvular pressure. The SEGM was then integrated into an isogeometric finite element based inverse model that estimated the individual leaflet and regional mPV mechanical behaviors. We demonstrated that the mPV leaflet mechanical behaviors were highly anisotropic and nonlinear, with substantial leaflet and regional variations. We also observed the presence of strong axial mechanical coupling, suggesting the important role of the underlying collagen fiber architecture in the mPV. When compared to larger mammalian species, the mPV exhibited substantially different mechanical behaviors. Thus, while qualitatively similar, the mPV exhibited important functional differences that will need to accounted for in murine heart valve studies. The results of this novel study will allow detailed murine tissue and organ level investigations of semi-lunar heart valve diseases.

PMID:37553466 | PMC:PMC10409802 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-40158-w


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