Contribution of extracellular matrix to the mechanical properties of the heart

Academic Article


  • Extracellular matrix (ECM) components play essential roles in development, remodeling, and signaling in the cardiovascular system. They are also important in determining the mechanics of blood vessels, valves, pericardium, and myocardium. The goal of this brief review is to summarize available information regarding the mechanical contributions of ECM in the myocardium. Fibrillar collagen, elastin, and proteoglycans all play crucial mechanical roles in many tissues in the body generally and in the cardiovascular system specifically. The myocardium contains all three components, but their mechanical contributions are relatively poorly understood. Most studies of ECM contributions to myocardial mechanics have focused on collagen, but quantitative prediction of mechanical properties of the myocardium, or changes in those properties with disease, from measured tissue structure is not yet possible. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the mechanics of cardiac elastin and proteoglycans merit further study. Work in other tissues used a combination of correlation, modification or digestion, and mathematical modeling to establish mechanical roles for specific ECM components; this work can provide guidance for new experiments and modeling studies in myocardium. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fomovsky GM; Thomopoulos S; Holmes JW
  • Start Page

  • 490
  • End Page

  • 496
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 3