Evolution of the three-dimensional collagen structure in vascular walls during deformation: An in situ mechanical testing under multiphoton microscopy observation

Mathieu Nierenberger, Guillaume Fargier, Said Ahzi, Yves Rémond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The collagen fibers’ three-dimensional architecture has a strong influence on the mechanical behavior of biological tissues. To accurately model this behavior, it is necessary to get some knowledge about the structure of the collagen network. In the present paper, we focus on the in situ characterization of the collagenous structure, which is present in porcine jugular vein walls. An observation of the vesselwall is first proposed in an unloaded configuration. The vein is then put into a mechanical tensile testing device. As the vein is stretched, three-dimensional images of its collagenous structure are acquired using multiphoton microscopy. Orientation analyses are provided for the multiple images recorded during the mechanical test. From these analyses, the reorientation of the two families of collagen fibers existing in the veinwall is quantified. We noticed that the reorientation of the fibers stops as the tissue stiffness starts decreasing, corresponding to the onset of damage. Besides, no relevant evolutions of the out of plane collagen orientations were observed. Due to the applied loading, our analysis also allowed for linking the stress relaxation within the tissue to its internal collagenous structure. Finally, this analysis constitutes the first mechanical test performed under a multiphoton microscope with a continuous three-dimensional observation of the tissue structure all along the test. It allows for a quantitative evaluation of microstructural parameters combined with a measure of the global mechanical behavior. Such data are useful for the development of structural mechanical models for living tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-702
Number of pages10
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015



  • Collagen
  • In situ testing
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Soft tissue
  • Tensile test
  • Vein wall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering

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