Mechanical and biochemical properties of human cervical tissue

Myers, Kristin M.; Paskaleva, Anastassia; House, Michael; Socrate, Simona

The mechanical integrity of cervical tissue is crucial for maintaining a healthy gestation. Altered tissue biochemistry can cause drastic changes in the mechanical properties of the cervix and contribute to premature cervical dilation and delivery. We present an investigation of the mechanical and biochemical properties of cervical samples from human hysterectomy specimens. Three clinical cases were investigated: nonpregnant hysterectomy patients with previous vaginal deliveries; nonpregnant hysterectomy patients with no previous vaginal deliveries; and pregnant hysterectomy patients at time of cesarean section. Tissue samples were tested in confined compression, unconfined compression and tension. Cervical tissue samples for the three clinical cases were also subjected to biochemical analysis. Biochemical assays measured cervical tissue hydration, collagen content, collagen extractability and sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. Results from the mechanical tests indicate that cervical stroma has a nonlinear, time-dependent stress response with varying degrees of conditioning and hysteresis depending on its obstetric background. It was found that the nonpregnant tissue was significantly stiffer than the pregnant tissue in both tension and compression. Further, collagen extractability, sulfated GAG content and hydration were substantially higher in the pregnant tissue. This study is the first important step towards the attainment of an improved understanding of the complex interplay between the molecular structure of cervical tissue and its macroscopic mechanical properties.


Also Published In

Acta Biomaterialia

More About This Work

Academic Units
Mechanical Engineering
Published Here
March 22, 2012