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Regional mechanical and biochemical properties of the porcine cortical meninges.

Published Date:

09/Sep/2018

Country:

England

Language:

eng

ISO Abbreviation:

Acta Biomater

PubMed

30208332

Abstract

The meninges are pivotal in protecting the brain against traumatic brain injury (TBI), an ongoing issue in most mainstream sports. Improved understanding of TBI biomechanics and pathophysiology is desirable to improve preventative measures, such as protective helmets, and advance our TBI diagnostic/prognostic capabilities. This study mechanically characterised the porcine meninges by performing uniaxial tensile testing on the dura mater (DM) tissue adjacent to the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes of the cerebellum and superior sagittal sinus region of the DM. Mechanical characterisation revealed a significantly higher elastic modulus for the superior sagittal sinus region when compared to other regions in the DM. The superior sagittal sinus and parietal regions of the DM also displayed local mechanical anisotropy. Further, fatigue was noted in the DM following ten preconditioning cycles, which could have important implications in the context of repetitive TBI. To further understand differences in regional mechanical properties, regional variations in protein content (collagen I, collagen III, fibronectin and elastin) were examined by immunoblot analysis. The superior sagittal sinus was found to have significantly higher collagen I, elastin, and fibronectin content. The frontal region was also identified to have significantly higher collagen I and fibronectin content while the temporal region had increased elastin and fibronectin content. Regional differences in the mechanical and biochemical properties along with regional tissue thickness differences within the DM reveal that the tissue is a non-homogeneous structure. In particular, the potentially influential role of the superior sagittal sinus in TBI biomechanics warrants further investigation. This study addresses the lack of regional mechanical analysis of the cortical meninges, particularly the dura mater (DM), with accompanying biochemical analysis. To mechanically characterise the stiffness of the DM by region, uniaxial tensile testing was carried out on the DM tissue adjacent to the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes along with the DM tissue associated with the superior sagittal sinus. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the work presented here identifies, for the first time, the heterogeneous nature of the DM's mechanical stiffness by region. In particular, this study identifies the significant difference in the stiffness of the DM tissue associated with the superior sagittal sinus when compared to the other DM regions. Constitutive modelling was carried out on the regional mechanical testing data for implementation in Finite Element models with improved biofidelity. This work also presents the first biochemical analysis of the collagen I and III, elastin, and fibronectin content within DM tissue by region, providing useful insights into the accompanying macro-scale biomechanical data.