Mechanical and structural changes of the rat cervix in late-stage pregnancy

Michael J. Poellmann, Edward K. Chien, Barbara L. McFarlin, Amy J Wagoner Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Dysregulated remodeling of the cervix precedes preterm birth, a major cause of infant mortality and morbidity. The goal of this work was to identify changes in the mechanical properties of the cervix in late gestation. The tensile and load relaxation properties of cervices from rats 15-21 days (full term) post-conception were measured. Stiffness and load at 25% circumferential strain decreased with gestational age and correlated with the initial circumference of the cervix. Load-relaxation curves were accurately described by a seven parameter quasi-linear viscoelastic model, where three parameters associated with stiffness and load capacity decrease with gestational age and correlate with initial circumference. Time-dependent parameters did not depend on age or structure. Mechanical properties correlated with water content, but unexpectedly not with measures of collagen content, solubility, or organization. Quantitative measurements of cervical stiffness and structure will lead to a more accurate description of cervical remodeling and prediction of preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Cervix
  • Gestational age
  • Load relaxation
  • Mechanical properties
  • Stiffness
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

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