Skin fulfills several vital functions, many of which are dependent on its mechanical properties. Therefore, as mice have become an invaluable model for skin research, determining murine skin's mechanical properties is important. Specifically, skin's mechanical properties are important for functional tests as well as for prognostic and diagnostic purposes. Additionally, computational simulations of skin behavior are becoming commonplace, rendering accurate models of murine skin's constitutive behavior necessary. To date, our knowledge of mouse skin mechanics shows significant gaps. For example, there are no comprehensive reports correlating skin's mechanical properties with region, age, and direction. Moreover, mouse skin's residual strain behavior has not been reported on. In our current work, we set out to fill these gaps. Based on histology, 2-photon microscopy, and planar biaxial testing, while accurately tracking various reference configurations, we report on differences in gross structure, microstructural organization, and constitutive response of skin, and cast those properties into a versatile Fung-type hyperelastic constitutive law for three reference configurations. Our data is the most comprehensive report contrasting the mechanical properties of young (12 weeks) and aged (52 weeks) mouse skin and will, thus, be valuable to basic science as control data, and provide accurate constitutive laws for mouse skin modeling. Statement of significance: Our findings are significant as they fill several gaps in our understanding of mouse skin mechanics. This is particularly important as mouse skin is becoming a frequent and critical model of human skin for cosmetic and medical science. Specifically, we quantified how mechanical properties of mice skin vary with age, with location, and with direction. Additionally, we cast our findings into constitutive models that can be used by others for predictive computer simulations of skin behavior.
- 2-photon microscopy
- Stiffness, aging