Elucidation of extracellular matrix mechanics from muscle fibers and fiber bundles
Entry by Angelo Mao, AP 225, Fall 2010
Title: Elucidation of extracellular matrix mechanics from muscle fibers and fiber bundles
Authors: Gretchen A. Meyer, Richard L. Lieber
Journal: Journal of Biomechanics
The researchers invent and apply a novel method for testing the mechanical properties of muscle fibers and their surrounding extracellular matrix. They were able to conclude from measuring the quadratic moduli that the moduli of fibers was linear, while the modulus of the extracellular matrix was nonlinear.
soft matter keywords: elastic modulus, extracellular matrix
Methods and Results
Attempts to determine the elastic modulus (or quadratic modulus, as it seems to be referred to in the paper) of muscles and its respective components, especially the extracellular matrix, were complicated by the difficulty in completely digesting away the muscle cells so that the remaining matrix structure could be mechanically tested. The effects of digestion on matrix mechanical properties were also obstacles. The authors developed a method of removing the extracellular matrix from the muscle bundles instead of removing the muscle cells. This left behind fibers that, in principle, by comparing to unmodified muscle bundles, could reveal the contribution of the extracellular matrix.