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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOPHOTONICS - THE APPLICATION OF NOVEL IMAGING METHODOLOGIES TO LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION RESEARCH Title: A comparative biomechanical analysis of term fetal membranes in human and domestic species

Authors
item Borazjani, A -
item Weed, B -
item Patnaik, S -
item Feugang, J -
item Christiansen, D -
item Elder, S -
item Ryan, P -
item Liao, J -

Submitted to: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2010
Publication Date: February 16, 2011
Citation: Borazjani, A., Weed, B., Patnaik, S., Feugang, J.M., Christiansen, D., Elder, S., Ryan, P.L., Liao, J. 2011. A comparative biomechanical analysis of term fetal membranes in human and domestic species. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 204(5):365.e25-365.e36

Interpretive Summary: The purpose of this study was to biomechanically characterize and compare human, porcine (pig), equine (horse), and ovine (sheep) fetal membranes. Results showed that equine and human membranes sustained larger magnitude loading, but ovine and porcine membranes exhibited stronger material properties. Human and equine groups accommodated the largest loads but lowest stresses. Animal gestation (pregnancy) length was correlated positively with fetal membrane thickness. The anatomy of placentation and length of species gestation show distinct relationships to membrane biomechanics. Unlike other species, human fetal membranes do not compensate for structural weakness with a thicker membrane. This finding may explain the high incidence of preterm premature rupture of membranes in humans.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to biomechanically characterize and compare human, porcine, equine, and ovine fetal membranes. Noncontact metrology was used for topographic analyses. Uniaxial tensile testing was performed to resolve specific biomechanical values. Puncture force and radial stresses were determined with biaxial puncture testing. Microstructure and surface tortuosity were analyzed histologically. Equine and human membranes sustained larger magnitude loading, but ovine and porcine membranes exhibited stronger material properties. Biaxial puncture validated uniaxial results; human and equine groups accommodated the largest loads but lowest stresses. Equine membranes were mostly vascularized; tortuosity was highest in porcine membranes. Species' gestation length was correlated positively with membrane thickness. The anatomy of placentation and length of species gestation show distinct relationships to membrane biomechanics. Unlike other species, human fetal membranes do not compensate for structural weakness with a thicker membrane. This finding may explain the high incidence of preterm premature rupture of membranes in humans.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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