The anisotropic mechanical properties of magnetically aligned fibrin gels were measured by magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and by a standard mechanical test: unconfined compression. Soft anisotropic biomaterials are notoriously difficult to characterize, especially in vivo. MRE is well-suited for efficient, non-invasive, and non-destructive assessment of shear modulus. Direction-dependent differences in shear modulus were found to be statistically significant for gels polymerized at magnetic fields of 11.7 and 4.7 T compared to control gels. Mechanical anisotropy was greater in the gels polymerized at the higher magnetic field. These observations were consistent with results from unconfined compression tests. Analysis of confocal microscopy images of gels showed measurable alignment of fibrils in gels polymerized at 11.7 T. This study provides direct, quantitative measurements of the anisotropy in mechanical properties that accompanies fibril alignment in fibrin gels.
- Fibrin gel
- Magnetic resonance elastography
- Shear modulus