Comparative study of variations in mechanical stress and strain of human blood vessels: mechanical reference for vascular cell mechano-biology

  • Shaoxiong Yang
  • Xiaobo GongEmail author
  • Yingxin Qi
  • Zonglai Jiang
Original Paper


The diseases of human blood vessels are closely associated with local mechanical variations. A better understanding of the quantitative correlation in mechanical environment between the current mechano-biological studies and vascular physiological or pathological conditions in vivo is crucial for evaluating numerous existing results and exploring new factors for disease discovery. In this study, six representative human blood vessels with known experimental measurements were selected, and their stress and strain variations in vessel walls under different blood pressures were analyzed based on nonlinear elastic theory. The results suggest that conventional mechano-biological experiments seeking the different biological expressions of cells at high/low mechanical loadings are ambiguous as references for studying vascular diseases, because distinct “site-specific” characteristics appear in different vessels. The present results demonstrate that the inner surface of the vessel wall does not always suffer the most severe stretch under high blood pressures comparing to the outer surface. Higher tension on the outer surface of aortas supports the hypothesis of the outside-in inflammation dominated by aortic adventitial fibroblasts. These results indicate that cellular studies at different mechanical niches should be “disease-specific” as well. The present results demonstrate considerable stress gradients across the wall thickness, which indicate micro-scale mechanical variations existing around the vascular cells, and imply that the physiological or pathological changes are not static processes confined within isolated regions, but are coupled with dynamic cell behaviors such as migration. The results suggest that the stress gradients, as well as the mechanical stresses and strains, are key factors constituting the mechanical niches, which may shed new light on “factor-specific” experiments of vascular cell mechano-biology.


Mechanical stress and strain Stress gradient Mechanical niche Vascular cell mechano-biology 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Numbers 11872040 and 11232010).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Hydrodynamics (Ministry of Education), Department of Engineering Mechanics, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute of Mechanobiology and Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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