Biaxial mechanical properties of the human thoracic and abdominal aorta, common carotid, subclavian, renal and common iliac arteries

Alexey V. Kamenskiy, Yuris A. Dzenis, Syed A.Jaffar Kazmi, Mark A. Pemberton, Iraklis I. Pipinos, Nick Y. Phillips, Kyle Herber, Thomas Woodford, Robert E. Bowen, Carol S. Lomneth, Jason N. MacTaggart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The biomechanics of large- and medium-sized arteries influence the pathophysiology of arterial disease and the response to therapeutic interventions. However, a comprehensive comparative analysis of human arterial biaxial mechanical properties has not yet been reported. Planar biaxial extension was used to establish the passive mechanical properties of human thoracic (TA, n=8) and abdominal (AA, n=7) aorta, common carotid (CCA, n=21), subclavian (SA, n=12), renal (RA, n=13) and common iliac (CIA, n=16) arteries from 11 deceased subjects (54\pm 21 years old). Histological evaluation determined the structure of each specimen. Experimental data were used to determine constitutive parameters for a structurally motivated nonlinear anisotropic constitutive model. All arteries demonstrated appreciable anisotropy and large nonlinear deformations. Most CCA, SA, TA, AA and CIA specimens were stiffer longitudinally, while most RAs were stiffer circumferentially. A switch in anisotropy was occasionally demonstrated for all arteries. The CCA was the most compliant, least anisotropic and least frequently diseased of all arteries, while the CIA and AA were the stiffest and the most diseased. The severity of atherosclerosis correlated with age, but was not affected by laterality. Elastin fibers in the aorta, SA and CCA were uniformly and mostly circumferentially distributed throughout the media, while in the RA and CIA, elastin was primarily axially aligned and concentrated in the external elastic lamina. Constitutive modeling provided good fits to the experimental data for most arteries. Biomechanical and architectural features of major arteries differ depending on location and functional environment. A better understanding of localized arterial mechanical properties may support the development of site-specific treatment modalities for arterial disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1359
Number of pages19
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 7 2014


  • Aorta
  • Carotid artery
  • Iliac artery
  • Mechanical properties
  • Renal artery
  • Subclavian artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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