The quality of life of ageing populations is increasingly determined by age-related changes to the mechanical properties of numerous biological tissues. Degradation and mechanical failure of these tissues has a profound effect on human morbidity and mortality. Soft tissues have complex and intricate structures and, similar to engineering materials, their mechanical properties are controlled by their microstructure. Thus age-relate changes in mechanical behavior are determined by changes in the properties and relative quantities of microstructural tissue components. This review focuses on the cardiovascular system; it discusses the techniques used both in vivo and ex vivo to determine the age-related changes in the mechanical properties of arteries.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70059-1