The contribution of elastin, collagen, and smooth muscle cells to residual strain in porcine aortas were evaluated by assessing several parameters: opening angle, neutral axis, and residual strain. Elastase or collagenase was used to remove elastin or collagen. Smooth muscle cells were activated using Ca2+/KCl solutions or deactivated using KCN solutions. Several statistically significant trends (P<0.05) were obtained. As elastin was removed, the opening angle increased. As collagen was removed, the opening angle decreased. In addition, the activation of smooth muscle cells reduced the opening angle. Smooth muscle cell activation and collagenase digestion resulted in: 1) a decrease in residual strain and strain gradient, 2) the neutral axis shifting toward the adventitia side of the vessel wall.

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