Nanoscale viscoelasticity of extracellular matrix proteins in soft tissues: A multiscale approach

Amir K. Miri, Hossein K. Heris, Luc Mongeau, Farhad Javid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It is hypothesized that the bulk viscoelasticity of soft tissues is determined by two length-scale-dependent mechanisms: the time-dependent response of the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins at the nanometer scale and the biophysical interactions between the ECM solid structure and interstitial fluid at the micrometer scale. The latter is governed by poroelasticity theory assuming free motion of the interstitial fluid within the porous ECM structure. In a recent study (Heris, H.K., Miri, A.K., Tripathy, U., Barthelat, F., Mongeau, L., 2013. J. Mech. Behav. Biomed. Mater.), atomic force microscopy was used to measure the response of porcine vocal folds to a creep loading and a 50-nm sinusoidal oscillation. A constitutive model was calibrated and verified using a finite element model to accurately predict the nanoscale viscoelastic moduli of ECM. A generally good correlation was obtained between the predicted variation of the viscoelastic moduli with depth and that of hyaluronic acids in vocal fold tissue. We conclude that hyaluronic acids may regulate vocal fold viscoelasticity. The proposed methodology offers a characterization tool for biomaterials used in vocal fold augmentations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Extracellular matrix proteins
  • Indentation
  • Poroelasticity
  • Viscoelasticity
  • Vocal folds


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