Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Establishment of a Biaxial Testing System for Characterization of Right Ventricle Viscoelasticity Under Physiological Loadings. Cardiovascular engineering and technology Roth, K., Liu, W., LeBar, K., Ahern, M., Wang, Z. 2024


    Prior studies have indicated an impact of cardiac muscle viscoelasticity on systolic and diastolic functions. However, the studies of ventricular free wall viscoelasticity, particularly for that of right ventricles (RV), are limited. Moreover, investigations on ventricular passive viscoelasticity have been restricted to large animals and there is a lack of data on rodent species. To fill this knowledge gap, this study aims to develop a biaxial tester that induces high-speed physiological deformations to characterize the passive viscoelasticity of rat RVs.The biaxial testing system was fabricated so that planar deformation of rat ventricle tissues at physiological strain rates was possible. The testing system was validated using isotropic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) sheets. Next, viscoelastic measurements were performed in healthy rat RV free walls by equibiaxial cyclic sinusoidal loadings and stress relaxation.The biaxial tester's consistency, accuracy, and stability was confirmed from the PDMS samples measurements. Moreover, significant viscoelastic alterations of the RV were found between sub-physiological (0.1 Hz) and physiological frequencies (1-8 Hz). From hysteresis loop analysis, we found as the frequency increased, the elasticity and viscosity were increased in both directions. Interestingly, the ratio of storage energy to dissipated energy (Wd/Ws) remained constant at 0.1-5 Hz. We did not observe marked differences in healthy RV viscoelasticity between longitudinal and circumferential directions.This work provides a new experimental tool to quantify the passive, biaxial viscoelasticity of ventricle free walls in both small and large animals. The dynamic mechanical tests showed frequency-dependent elastic and viscous behaviors of healthy rat RVs. But the ratio of dissipated energy to stored energy was maintained between frequencies. These findings offer novel baseline information on the passive viscoelasticity of healthy RVs in adult rats.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s13239-024-00722-5

    View details for PubMedID 38468114

    View details for PubMedCentralID 7078018

  • Role of Microtubule Network in the Passive Anisotropic Viscoelasticity of Healthy Right Ventricle. Journal of biomechanical engineering LeBar, K., Liu, W., Chicco, A., Wang, Z. 2024: 1-25


    Cardiomyocytes are viscoelastic and key determinants of right ventricle (RV) mechanics. Intracellularly, microtubules are found to impact the viscoelasticity of isolated cardiomyocytes or trabeculae; whether they contribute to the tissue-level viscoelasticity is unknown. Our goal was to reveal the role of the microtubule network in the passive anisotropic viscoelasticity of the healthy RV. Equibiaxial stress relaxation tests were conducted in healthy RV free wall (RVFW) under early (6%) and end (15%) diastolic strain levels, and at sub- and physiological stretch rates. The viscoelasticity was assessed at baseline and after the removal of microtubule network. Furthermore, a quasilinear viscoelastic model was applied to delineate the contribution of microtubules to the relaxation behavior of RVFW. After removing the microtubule network, RVFW elasticity and viscosity were reduced at both strain levels and in both directions. But the reduction was greater at the early diastolic strain and the decrease in elasticity was stronger in the longitudinal direction. Finally, the modeling showed that the tissue's relaxation strength was reduced by the removal of the microtubule network, but the change was present only at a later time scale. These new findings suggest a critical role of cytoskeleton filaments in RVFW passive mechanics in physiological conditions.

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4064685

    View details for PubMedID 38329431

  • Role of the Microtubule Network in the Passive Anisotropic Viscoelasticity of Right Ventricle with Pulmonary Hypertension Progression. Acta biomaterialia LeBar, K., Liu, W., Pang, J., Chicco, A., Wang, Z. 2024


    Cardiomyocytes are viscoelastic and contribute significantly to right ventricle (RV) mechanics. Microtubule, a cytoskeletal protein, has been shown to regulate cardiomyocyte viscoelasticity. Additionally, hypertrophied cardiomyocytes from failing myocardium have increased microtubules and cell stiffness. How the microtubules contribute to the tissue-level viscoelastic behavior in RV failure remains unknown. Our aim was to investigate the role of the microtubules in the passive anisotropic viscoelasticity of the RV free wall (RVFW) during pulmonary hypertension (PH) progression. Equibiaxial stress relaxation tests were conducted in the RVFW from healthy and PH rats under early (6%) and end (15%) diastolic strains, and at sub- (1Hz) and physiological (5Hz) stretch-rates. The RVFW viscoelasticity was also measured before and after the depolymerization of microtubules at 5Hz. In intact tissues, PH increased RV viscosity and elasticity at both stretch rates and strain levels, and the increase was stronger in the circumferential than longitudinal direction. At 6% of strain, the removal of microtubules reduced elasticity, viscosity, and the ratio of viscosity to elasticity in both directions and for both healthy and diseased RVs. However, at 15% of strain, the effect of microtubulestates was different between groups - both viscosity and elasticity were reduced in healthy RVs, but in the diseased RVs only the circumferential viscosity and the ratio of viscosity to elasticity were reduced. These data suggest that, at a large strain with collagen recruitment, microtubules play more significant roles in healthy RV tissue elasticity and diseased RV tissue viscosity. Our findings suggest cardiomyocyte cytoskeletons are critical to RV passive viscoelasticity under pressure overload. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: This study investigated the impact of microtubules on the passive anisotropic viscoelasticity of the right ventricular (RV) free wall at healthy and pressure-overloaded states. We originally found that the microtubules contribute significantly to healthy and diseased RV viscoelasticity in both (longitudinal and circumferential) directions at early diastolic strains. At end diastolic strains (with the engagement of collagen fibers), microtubules contribute more to the tissue elasticity of healthy RVs and tissue viscosity of diseased RVs. Our findings reveal the critical role of microtubules in the anisotropic viscoelasticity of the RV tissue, and the altered contribution from healthy to diseased state suggests that therapies targeting on microtubules may have potentials for RV failure patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2024.01.023

    View details for PubMedID 38272197

  • Generation of two induced pluripotent stem cell lines from breast cancer patients carrying BRCA2 variants. Stem cell research Zhang, M., Liu, W., Li, A., Htet, M. H., Yu, R., Telli, M. L., Wu, J. C. 2023; 72: 103219


    Germline pathogenic variants in the BRCA2 gene are strongly correlated with an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. Two specific BRCA2 variants, c.8167G>C (p.Asp2723His) and c.1583del (p.Asn528fs), have been identified from individuals with a family history of breast cancer. Here we generated two iPSC lines from breast cancer patients who are heterozygous carriers of these two variants. These iPSCs exhibit pluripotency and demonstrate the capability to differentiate into three germ layers. These iPSC lines represent a valuable resource for personalized pre-clinical research, offering new opportunities to explore the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer and develop targeted therapeutic approaches.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scr.2023.103219

    View details for PubMedID 37816281

  • Generation of two induced pluripotent stem cell lines from Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. Stem cell research Liu, W., Zeng, W., Kong, X., Htet, M., Yu, R., Wheeler, M., Day, J. W., Wu, J. C. 2023; 72: 103207


    Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive disorder that leads to death in early adulthood. Patients with DMD have null mutations leading to loss of functional dystrophin protein. Here we generated two DMD induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, one with deletion of exon 51 and the other with a single nucleotide nonsense mutation (c.10171C > T). Both lines expressed high levels of pluripotency markers, had the capability of differentiating into derivatives of the three germ layers, and possessed normal karyotypes. These iPSC lines can serve as powerful tools to model DMD in vitro and as a platform for therapeutic development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scr.2023.103207

    View details for PubMedID 37740996

  • Generation of two induced pluripotent stem cell lines from patients with Down syndrome. Stem cell research Zhu, W., Liu, W., Yu, R., Manning, M., Waran Romfh, A., Wu, J. C. 2023; 72: 103204


    Down syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of Homo sapiens chromosome 21 (HSA21) and is by far the most common chromosomal disorder accompanied by neurodevelopmental disorders and congenital heart disease. Here, we generated two induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from two patients with DS. These two lines exhibited normal morphology, trisomy 21 karyotype, pluripotency and differentiation capability into derivatives of three germ layers. The patient-specific iPSC lines arean invaluable resource in research to model DS-related cellular and molecular pathologies and test possible therapeutic strategies for DS.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scr.2023.103204

    View details for PubMedID 37734318

  • Alterations of biaxial viscoelastic properties of the right ventricle in pulmonary hypertension development in rest and acute stress conditions. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology Liu, W., LeBar, K., Roth, K., Pang, J., Ayers, J., Chicco, A. J., Puttlitz, C. M., Wang, Z. 2023; 11: 1182703


    Introduction: The right ventricle (RV) mechanical property is an important determinant of its function. However, compared to its elasticity, RV viscoelasticity is much less studied, and it remains unclear how pulmonary hypertension (PH) alters RV viscoelasticity. Our goal was to characterize the changes in RV free wall (RVFW) anisotropic viscoelastic properties with PH development and at varied heart rates. Methods: PH was induced in rats by monocrotaline treatment, and the RV function was quantified by echocardiography. After euthanasia, equibiaxial stress relaxation tests were performed on RVFWs from healthy and PH rats at various strain-rates and strain levels, which recapitulate physiological deformations at varied heart rates (at rest and under acute stress) and diastole phases (at early and late filling), respectively. Results and Discussion: We observed that PH increased RVFW viscoelasticity in both longitudinal (outflow tract) and circumferential directions. The tissue anisotropy was pronounced for the diseased RVs, not healthy RVs. We also examined the relative change of viscosity to elasticity by the damping capacity (ratio of dissipated energy to total energy), and we found that PH decreased RVFW damping capacity in both directions. The RV viscoelasticity was also differently altered from resting to acute stress conditions between the groups-the damping capacity was decreased only in the circumferential direction for healthy RVs, but it was reduced in both directions for diseased RVs. Lastly, we found some correlations between the damping capacity and RV function indices and there was no correlation between elasticity or viscosity and RV function. Thus, the RV damping capacity may be a better indicator of RV function than elasticity or viscosity alone. These novel findings on RV dynamic mechanical properties offer deeper insights into the role of RV biomechanics in the adaptation of RV to chronic pressure overload and acute stress.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fbioe.2023.1182703

    View details for PubMedID 37324443

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10266205

  • Strain-dependent stress relaxation behavior of healthy right ventricular free wall ACTA BIOMATERIALIA Liu, W., Labus, K. M., Ahern, M., LeBar, K., Avazmohammadi, R., Puttlitz, C. M., Wang, Z. 2022; 152: 290-299


    The increasing evidence of stress-strain hysteresis in large animal or human myocardium calls for extensive characterizations of the passive viscoelastic behavior of the myocardium. Several recent studies have investigated and modeled the viscoelasticity of the left ventricle while the right ventricle (RV) viscoelasticity remains poorly understood. Our goal was to characterize the biaxial viscoelastic behavior of RV free wall (RVFW) using two modeling approaches. We applied both quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) and nonlinear viscoelastic (NLV) theories to experimental stress relaxation data from healthy adult ovine. A three-term Prony series relaxation function combined with an Ogden strain energy density function was used in the QLV modeling, while a power-law formulation was adopted in the NLV approach. The ovine RVFW exhibited an anisotropic and strain-dependent viscoelastic behavior relative to anatomical coordinates, and the NLV model showed a higher capacity in predicting strain-dependent stress relaxation than the QLV model. From the QLV fitting, the relaxation term associated with the largest time constant played the dominant role in the overall relaxation behavior at most strains from early to late diastole, whereas the term associated with the smallest time constant was pronounced only at low strains at early diastole. From the NLV fitting, the parameters showed a nonlinear dependence on the strain. Overall, our study characterized the anisotropic, nonlinear viscoelasticity to capture the elastic and viscous resistances of the RVFW during diastole. These findings deepen our understanding of RV myocardium dynamic mechanical properties. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Although significant progress has been made to understand the passive elastic behavior of the right ventricle free wall (RVFW), its viscoelastic behavior remains poorly understood. In this study, we originally applied both quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) and nonlinear viscoelastic (NLV) models to published experimental data from healthy ovine RVFW. Our results revealed an anisotropic and strain-dependent viscoelastic behavior of the RVFW. The parameters from the NLV fitting showed nonlinear relationships with the strain, and the NLV model showed a higher capacity in predicting strain-dependent stress relaxation than the QLV model. These findings characterize the anisotropic, nonlinear viscoelasticity of RVFW to fully capture the total (elastic and viscous) resistance that is critical to diastolic function.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.08.043

    View details for Web of Science ID 000870033300005

    View details for PubMedID 36030049

  • Multiscale Contrasts Between the Right and Left Ventricle Biomechanics in Healthy Adult Sheep and Translational Implications. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology Liu, W., Nguyen-Truong, M., LeBar, K., Labus, K. M., Gray, E., Ahern, M., Neelakantan, S., Avazmohammadi, R., McGilvray, K. C., Puttlitz, C. M., Wang, Z. 2022; 10: 857638


    Cardiac biomechanics play a significant role in the progression of structural heart diseases (SHDs). SHDs alter baseline myocardial biomechanics leading to single or bi-ventricular dysfunction. But therapies for left ventricle (LV) failure patients do not always work well for right ventricle (RV) failure patients. This is partly because the basic knowledge of baseline contrasts between the RV and LV biomechanics remains elusive with limited discrepant findings. The aim of the study was to investigate the multiscale contrasts between LV and RV biomechanics in large animal species. We hypothesize that the adult healthy LV and RV have distinct passive anisotropic biomechanical properties. Ex vivo biaxial tests were performed in fresh sheep hearts. Histology and immunohistochemistry were performed to measure tissue collagen. The experimental data were then fitted to a Fung type model and a structurally informed model, separately. We found that the LV was stiffer in the longitudinal (outflow tract) than circumferential direction, whereas the RV showed the opposite anisotropic behavior. The anisotropic parameter K from the Fung type model accurately captured contrasting anisotropic behaviors in the LV and RV. When comparing the elasticity in the same direction, the LV was stiffer than the RV longitudinally and the RV was stiffer than the LV circumferentially, suggesting different filling patterns of these ventricles during diastole. Results from the structurally informed model suggest potentially stiffer collagen fibers in the LV than RV, demanding further investigation. Finally, type III collagen content was correlated with the low-strain elastic moduli in both ventricles. In summary, our findings provide fundamental biomechanical differences between the chambers. These results provide valuable insights for guiding cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative studies to implement chamber-specific matrix mechanics, which is particularly critical for identifying biomechanical mechanisms of diseases or mechanical regulation of therapeutic responses. In addition, our results serve as a benchmark for image-based inverse modeling technologies to non-invasively estimate myocardial properties in the RV and LV.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fbioe.2022.857638

    View details for PubMedID 35528212

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9068898

  • Different Passive Viscoelastic Properties Between the Left and Right Ventricles in Healthy Adult Ovine JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME Liu, W., Nguyen-Truong, M., Ahern, M., Labus, K. M., Puttlitz, C. M., Wang, Z. 2021; 143 (12)


    Ventricle dysfunction is the most common cause of heart failure, which leads to high mortality and morbidity. The mechanical behavior of the ventricle is critical to its physiological function. It is known that the ventricle is anisotropic and viscoelastic. However, the understanding of ventricular viscoelasticity is much less than that of its elasticity. Moreover, the left and right ventricles (LV&RV) are different in embryologic origin, anatomy, and function, but whether they distinguish in viscoelastic properties is unclear. We hypothesized that passive viscoelasticity is different between healthy LVs and RVs. Ex vivo cyclic biaxial tensile mechanical tests (1, 0.1, 0.01 Hz) and stress relaxation (strain of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15%) were performed for ventricles from healthy adult sheep. Outflow track direction was defined as the longitudinal direction. Hysteresis stress-strain loops and stress relaxation curves were obtained to quantify the viscoelastic properties. We found that the RV had more pronounced frequency-dependent viscoelastic changes than the LV. Under the physiological frequency (1 Hz), the LV was more anisotropic in the elasticity and stiffer than the RV in both directions, whereas the RV was more anisotropic in the viscosity and more viscous than the LV in the longitudinal direction. The LV was quasi-linear viscoelastic in the longitudinal but not circumferential direction, and the RV was nonlinear viscoelastic in both directions. This study is the first to investigate passive viscoelastic differences in healthy LVs and RVs, and the findings will deepen the understanding of biomechanical mechanisms of ventricular function.

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4052004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000721743500006

    View details for PubMedID 34350934

  • The Interventricular Septum Is Biomechanically Distinct from the Ventricular Free Walls BIOENGINEERING-BASEL Nguyen-Truong, M., Liu, W., Doherty, C., LeBar, K., Labus, K. M., Puttlitz, C. M., Easley, J., Monnet, E., Chicco, A., Wang, Z. 2021; 8 (12)


    The interventricular septum contributes to the pumping function of both ventricles. However, unlike the ventricular wall, its mechanical behavior remains largely unknown. To fill the knowledge gap, this study aims to characterize the biaxial and transmural variation of the mechanical properties of the septum and compare it to the free walls of the left and right ventricles (LV/RV). Fresh hearts were obtained from healthy, adult sheep. The septal wall was sliced along the mid-line into two septal sides and compared to the epicardial layers of the LV- and RV-free walls. Biaxial tensile mechanical tests and constitutive modeling were performed to obtain the passive mechanical properties of the LV- and RV-side of the septum and ventricular walls. We found that both sides of the septum were significantly softer than the respective ventricular walls, and that the septum presented significantly less collagen than the ventricular walls. At low strains, we observed the symmetric distribution of the fiber orientations and a similar anisotropic behavior between the LV-side and RV-side of the septum, with a stiffer material property in the longitudinal direction, rather than the circumferential direction. At high strains, both sides showed isotropic behavior. Both septal sides had similar intrinsic elasticity, as evidenced by experimental data and constitutive modeling. These new findings offer important knowledge of the biomechanics of the septum wall, which may deepen the understanding of heart physiology.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/bioengineering8120216

    View details for Web of Science ID 000735939400001

    View details for PubMedID 34940369

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8698618

  • Establishment of adult right ventricle failure in ovine using a graded, animal-specific pulmonary artery constriction model ANIMAL MODELS AND EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE Nguyen-Truong, M., Liu, W., Boon, J., Nelson, B., Easley, J., Monnet, E., Wang, Z. 2020; 3 (2): 182-192


    Right ventricle failure (RVF) is associated with serious cardiac and pulmonary diseases that contribute significantly to the morbidity and mortality of patients. Currently, the mechanisms of RVF are not fully understood and it is partly due to the lack of large animal models in adult RVF. In this study, we aim to establish a model of RVF in adult ovine and examine the structure and function relations in the RV.RV pressure overload was induced in adult male sheep by revised pulmonary artery constriction (PAC). Briefly, an adjustable hydraulic occluder was placed around the main pulmonary artery trunk. Then, repeated saline injection was performed at weeks 0, 1, and 4, where the amount of saline was determined in an animal-specific manner. Healthy, age-matched male sheep were used as additional controls. Echocardiography was performed bi-weekly and on week 11 post-PAC, hemodynamic and biological measurements were obtained.This PAC methodology resulted in a marked increase in RV systolic pressure and decreases in stroke volume and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, indicating signs of RVF. Significant increases in RV chamber size, wall thickness, and Fulton's index were observed. Cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and collagen accumulation (particularly type III collagen) were evident, and these structural changes were correlated with RV dysfunction.In summary, the animal-specific, repeated PAC provided a robust approach to induce adult RVF, and this ovine model will offer a useful tool to study the progression and treatment of adult RVF that is translatable to human diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ame2.12124

    View details for Web of Science ID 000681668600008

    View details for PubMedID 32613177

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7323700

  • Current Understanding of the Biomechanics of Ventricular Tissues in Heart Failure BIOENGINEERING-BASEL Liu, W., Wang, Z. 2020; 7 (1)


    Heart failure is the leading cause of death worldwide, and the most common cause of heart failure is ventricular dysfunction. It is well known that the ventricles are anisotropic and viscoelastic tissues and their mechanical properties change in diseased states. The tissue mechanical behavior is an important determinant of the function of ventricles. The aim of this paper is to review the current understanding of the biomechanics of ventricular tissues as well as the clinical significance. We present the common methods of the mechanical measurement of ventricles, the known ventricular mechanical properties including the viscoelasticity of the tissue, the existing computational models, and the clinical relevance of the ventricular mechanical properties. Lastly, we suggest some future research directions to elucidate the roles of the ventricular biomechanics in the ventricular dysfunction to inspire new therapies for heart failure patients.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/bioengineering7010002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000523493300027

    View details for PubMedID 31861916

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7175293