A High-Fidelity 3D Micromechanical Model of Ventricular Myocardium.
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Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) imposes a pressure overload on the right ventricle (RV), leading to myofiber hypertrophy and remodeling of the extracellular collagen fiber network. While the macroscopic behavior of healthy and post-PAH RV free wall (RVFW) tissue has been studied previously, the mechanical microenvironment that drives remodeling events in the myofibers and the extracellular matrix (ECM) remains largely unexplored. We hypothesize that multiscale computational modeling of the heart, linking cellular-scale events to tissue-scale behavior, can improve our understanding of cardiac remodeling and better identify therapeutic targets. We have developed a high-fidelity microanatomically realistic model of ventricular myocardium, combining confocal microscopy techniques, soft tissue mechanics, and finite element modeling. We match our microanatomical model to the tissue-scale mechanical response of previous studies on biaxial properties of RVFW and examine the local myofiber-ECM interactions to study fiber-specific mechanics at the scale of individual myofibers. Through this approach, we determine that the interactions occurring at the tissue scale can be accounted for by accurately representing the geometry of the myofiber-collagen arrangement at the micro scale. Ultimately, models such as these can be used to link cellular-level adaptations with organ-level adaptations to lead to the development of patient-specific treatments for PAH.