Morphometric Study of Stress-Induced Changes in Aortic Wall Microstructure

E.M. Kefaloyannis and D.P. Sokolis (Greece)


Aorta, stress, elastin, collagen, image analysis, fixation.


This study investigated quantitatively microstructural changes of the aortic wall, when subjected to different pre-selected stress levels. Measured parameters included content, orientation, and waviness of elastic lamellae and collagen fibers. Light microscopy examination, coupled to image analysis, showed the elastic lamellae straightening at low stresses, as well as extending and compacting at physiologic and higher stresses. Collagen fibers realigned along the stress axis at low stresses, and straightened at physiologic and higher stresses. Explicit correlations were found between the morphometric parameters of aortic wall and the level of mechanical stress, involving participation of elastin alone in transmitting low stresses, and of both elastin and collagen in transmitting physiologic and high stresses.

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