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Correlating Local Volumetric Tissue Strains with Global Lung Mechanics Measurements

Arora, H., Mitchell, R. L., Johnston, R., Manolesos, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-5506-6061, Howells, D., Sherwood, J. M., Bodey, A. J. and Wanelik, K. (2021). Correlating Local Volumetric Tissue Strains with Global Lung Mechanics Measurements. Materials (Basel), 14(2), 439. doi: 10.3390/ma14020439


The mechanics of breathing is a fascinating and vital process. The lung has complexities and subtle heterogeneities in structure across length scales that influence mechanics and function. This study establishes an experimental pipeline for capturing alveolar deformations during a respiratory cycle using synchrotron radiation micro-computed tomography (SR-micro-CT). Rodent lungs were mechanically ventilated and imaged at various time points during the respiratory cycle. Pressure-Volume (P-V) characteristics were recorded to capture any changes in overall lung mechanical behaviour during the experiment. A sequence of tomograms was collected from the lungs within the intact thoracic cavity. Digital volume correlation (DVC) was used to compute the three-dimensional strain field at the alveolar level from the time sequence of reconstructed tomograms. Regional differences in ventilation were highlighted during the respiratory cycle, relating the local strains within the lung tissue to the global ventilation measurements. Strains locally reached approximately 150% compared to the averaged regional deformations of approximately 80-100%. Redistribution of air within the lungs was observed during cycling. Regions which were relatively poorly ventilated (low deformations compared to its neighbouring region) were deforming more uniformly at later stages of the experiment (consistent with its neighbouring region). Such heterogenous phenomena are common in everyday breathing. In pathological lungs, some of these non-uniformities in deformation behaviour can become exaggerated, leading to poor function or further damage. The technique presented can help characterize the multiscale biomechanical nature of a given pathology to improve patient management strategies, considering both the local and global lung mechanics.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in Materials by MDPI, DOI:
Publisher Keywords: lung mechanics; micro-CT; synchrotron; digital volume correlation; alveoli
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Engineering > Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics
Date available in CRO: 01 Nov 2021 11:41
Date deposited: 1 November 2021
Date of acceptance: 13 January 2021
Date of first online publication: 18 January 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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