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In studying biomechanical deformation in articular cartilage, the presence of cells (chondrocytes) necessitates the consideration of inhomogeneous elasticity problems in which cells are idealized as soft inclusions within a stiff extracellular matrix. An analytical solution of a soft inclusion problem is derived and used to evaluate iterative numerical solutions of the associated linear algebraic system based on discretization via the finite element method, and use of an iterative conjugate gradient method with algebraic multigrid preconditioning (AMG-PCG). Accuracy and efficiency of the AMG-PCG algorithm is compared to two other conjugate gradient algorithms with diagonal preconditioning (DS-PCG) or a modified incomplete LU decomposition (Euclid-PCG) based on comparison to the analytical solution. While all three algorithms are shown to be accurate, the AMG-PCG algorithm is demonstrated to provide significant savings in CPU time as the number of nodal unknowns is increased. In contrast to the other two algorithms, the AMG-PCG algorithm also exhibits little sensitivity of CPU time and number of iterations to variations in material properties that are known to significantly affect model variables. Results demonstrate the benefits of algebraic multigrid preconditioners for the iterative solution of assembled linear systems based on finite element modeling of soft elastic inclusion problems and may be particularly advantageous for large scale problems with many nodal unknowns.
ABSTRACT: Cells are highly complex structures whose physiology and biomechanical properties depend on the interactions among the varying concentrations of water, charged or uncharged macromolecules, ions, and other molecular components contained within the cytoplasm. To further investigate the mechanistic basis of the mechanical behaviors of cells, recent studies have developed models of single cells and cell–matrix interactions that use multiphasic constitutive laws to represent the interactions among solid, fluid, and in some cases, ionic phases of cells. The goals of such studies have been to characterize the relative contributions of different physical mechanisms responsible for empirically observed phenomena such as cell viscoelasticity or volume change under mechanical or osmotic loading, and to account for the coupling of mechanical, chemical, and electrical events within living cells. This chapter describes several two-phase (fluid-solid) or three-phase (fluid-solid-ion) models, originally developed for studying soft hydrated tissues, that have been extended to describe the biomechanical behavior of individual cells or cell–matrix interactions in various tissue systems. The application of such “biphasic” or “triphasic” continuum-based approaches can be combined with other structurally based models to study the interactions of the different constitutive phases in governing cell mechanical behavior.
Cells of the human body are regularly subjected to a complex mechanical environment, consisting of temporally and spatially varying stresses, strains, fluid flow, osmotic pressure, and other biophysical factors. In many cases, the mechanical properties and the rheology of cells play a critical role in their ability to withstand mechanical loading while performing their physiologic functions. In other cases, mechanical factors serve as important signals that influence, and potentially regulate, cell phenotype in both health and disease.
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