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Tissue composition regulates distinct viscoelastic responses in auricular and articular cartilage


Nimeskern, L and Utomo, L and Lehtoviita, I and Fessel, G and Snedeker, JG and van Osch, GJVM and Muller, R and Stok, KS, Tissue composition regulates distinct viscoelastic responses in auricular and articular cartilage, Journal of Biomechanics, 49, (3) pp. 344-352. ISSN 0021-9290 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.12.032


It is well-accepted that articular (ART) cartilage composition and tissue architecture are intimately related to mechanical properties. On the other hand, very little information about other cartilage tissues is available, such as elastin-rich auricular (AUR) cartilage. While thorough investigation of ART cartilage has enhanced osteoarthritis research, ear cartilage reconstruction and tissue engineering (TE) could benefit in a similar way from in-depth analysis of AUR cartilage properties. This study aims to explore the constituent–function relationships of AUR cartilage, and how elastin influences mechanical behavior.

Stress–relaxation indentation and tensile tests were performed on bovine ART and AUR cartilage. Elastase incubation was performed to simultaneously deplete elastin and sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG), while hyaluronidase incubation was used to deplete sGAG-only, in order to systematically investigate matrix components in material behavior.

ART and AUR cartilages showed different viscoelastic behaviors, with AUR cartilage exhibiting a more elastic behavior. Higher equilibrium properties and limited viscous dissipation of strain energy were observed in AUR cartilage, while ART cartilage exhibited a rapid viscous response and high resistance to instantaneous loading.

In conclusion, loss of sGAG had no effect on auricular mechanics in contrast to articular cartilage where GAG loss clearly correlated with mechanical properties. Auricular cartilage without elastin lost all compressive mechanical integrity, whereas in articular cartilage this was provided by collagen. This work shows for the first time the involvement of elastin in the mechanical behavior of ear cartilage. In future, this data can be used in AUR cartilage TE efforts to support reproduction of tissue-specific mechanical properties.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ear cartilage, elastin, elastic fibers, viscoelasticity, biomechanical properties
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Biomedical engineering
Research Field:Biomechanical engineering
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in engineering
UTAS Author:Stok, KS (Dr Kathryn Stok)
ID Code:133634
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-07-04
Last Modified:2019-08-21

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