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On Mechanics of Connective Tissue: Assessing the Electrostatic Contribution to Corneal Stroma Elasticity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

Hamed Hatami-Marbini
Affiliation:
hhatami@stanford.edu
Peter M. Pinsky
Affiliation:
pinsky@stanford.edu, Stanford University, Mechanical Eng, Stanford, California, United States
Corresponding
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Abstract

The extracellular matrix plays a crucial role in defining the mechanical properties of connective tissues like cornea, heart, tendon, bone and cartilage among many others. The unique properties of these collagenous tissues arise because of both the hierarchal structure of collagens and the presence of negatively charged proteoglycans (PGs) which hold collagen fibers together. Here, in an effort to understand the mechanics of these structures, using the nonlinear Poison-Boltzmann (PB) equation, we study the electrostatic contribution to the elasticity of corneal stroma due to the presence of negatively charged PG glycosminoglycans (GAGs). Since collagens and GAGs have a regular hexagonal arrangement inside the corneal stroma, a triangular unit cell is chosen. The finite element method is used to solve the PB equation inside this domain and to obtain the electric potential and ionic distributions. Having the ion and potential distributions throughout the unit cell, the electrostatic free energy is computed and the tissue elasticity is calculated using the energy method. It is shown that as the ionic bath concentration increases; the electrostatic contribution to tissue elasticity is reduced.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2010

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On Mechanics of Connective Tissue: Assessing the Electrostatic Contribution to Corneal Stroma Elasticity
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