Finite Element Simulations of Mechanical Behaviour of Endothelial Cells
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Biomechanical models based on the finite element method have already shown their potential in the simulation of the mechanical behaviour of cells. For instance, development of atherosclerosis is accelerated by damage of the endothelium, a monolayer of endothelial cells on the inner surface of arteries. Finite element models enable us to investigate mechanical factors not only at the level of the arterial wall but also at the level of individual cells. To achieve this, several finite element models of endothelial cells with different shapes are presented in this paper. Implementing the recently proposed bendotensegrity concept, these models consider the flexural behaviour of microtubules and incorporate also waviness of intermediate filaments. The suspended and adherent cell models are validated by comparison of their simulated force-deformation curves with experiments from the literature. The flat and dome cell models, mimicking natural cell shapes inside the endothelial layer, are then used to simulate their response in compression and shear which represent typical loads in a vascular wall. The models enable us to analyse the role of individual cytoskeletal components in the mechanical responses, as well as to quantify the nucleus deformation which is hypothesized to be the quantity decisive for mechanotransduction.
Document typePeer reviewed
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SourceBioMed Research International. 2021, vol. 2021, issue 1, p. 1-17.