A computational model to predict cell traction-mediated prestretch in the mitral valve

M.A.J. van Kelle, M.K. Rausch, E. Kuhl, S. Loerakker (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Prestretch is observed in many soft biological tissues, directly influencing the mechanical behavior of the tissue in question. The development of this prestretch occurs through complex growth and remodeling phenomena, which yet remain to be elucidated. In the present study it was investigated whether local cell-mediated traction forces can explain the development of global anisotropic tissue prestretch in the mitral valve. Towards this end, a model predicting actin stress fiber-generated traction forces was implemented in a finite element framework of the mitral valve. The overall predicted magnitude of prestretch induced valvular contraction after release of in vivo boundary constraints was in good agreement with data reported on valvular retraction after excision from the heart. Next, by using a systematic variation of model parameters and structural properties, a more anisotropic prestretch development in the valve could be obtained, which was also similar to physiological values. In conclusion, this study shows that cell-generated traction forces could explain prestretch magnitude and anisotropy in the mitral valve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-1185
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number15
Early online date19 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2019


  • cell-traction forces
  • finite element method
  • mitral valve
  • Prestretch


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