Comparison of morphometric, structural, mechanical, and physiologic characteristics of human superficial femoral and popliteal arteries

Majid Jadidi, Sayed Ahmadreza Razian, Eric Anttila, Tyler Doan, Josiah Adamson, Margarita Pipinos, Alexey Kamenskiy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peripheral arterial disease differentially affects the superficial femoral (SFA) and the popliteal (PA) arteries, but their morphometric, structural, mechanical, and physiologic differences are poorly understood. SFAs and PAs from 125 human subjects (age 13-92, average 52±17 years) were compared in terms of radii, wall thickness, and opening angles. Structure and vascular disease were quantified using histology, mechanical properties were determined with planar biaxial extension, and constitutive modeling was used to calculate the physiologic stress-stretch state, elastic energy, and the circumferential physiologic stiffness. SFAs had larger radii than PAs, and both segments widened with age. Young SFAs were 5% thicker, but in old subjects the PAs were thicker. Circumferential (SFA: 96→193°, PA: 105→139°) and longitudinal (SFA: 139→306°, PA: 133→320°) opening angles increased with age in both segments. PAs were more diseased than SFAs and had 11% thicker intima. With age, intimal thickness increased 8.5-fold, but medial thickness remained unchanged (620μm) in both arteries. SFAs had 30% more elastin than the PAs, and its density decreased ~50% with age. SFAs were more compliant than PAs circumferentially, but there was no difference longitudinally. Physiologic circumferential stress and stiffness were 21% and 11% higher in the SFA than in the PA across all ages. The stored elastic energy decreased with age (SFA: 1.4→0.4kPa, PA: 2.5→0.3kPa). While the SFA and PA demonstrate appreciable differences, most of them are due to vascular disease. When pathology is the same, so are the mechanical properties, but not the physiologic characteristics that remain distinct due to geometrical differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-443
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Aging
  • Constitutive modeling
  • Mechanical properties
  • Popliteal artery
  • Regional differences
  • superficial femoral artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of morphometric, structural, mechanical, and physiologic characteristics of human superficial femoral and popliteal arteries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this