A COMPUTATIONAL MODEL OF STRAIN AND RATE-DEPENDENT NUERONAL INJURY Format Review

Open Access
Author:
Detomas-Medina, Patricia Yvette
Area of Honors:
Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Reuben H Kraft, Thesis Supervisor
  • Ronald Albert Markle, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Finite element model
  • neuronal deformation
  • computational modeling
  • neurons
Abstract:
In the United States alone, over 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury are reported annually. The prevalence of these injuries and their effects have greatly increased the need for understanding the mechanisms of neuronal deformation during injurious loading. Previously, specially designed in vitro experiments of compressive neuronal deformation demonstrated that at different strain loading magnitudes and rates influence injury pathology differently. For example, magnitude affects the time of neuronal death, while strain rate influences the pathomorphology and extent of injury. While these experimental findings are valuable, there are still challenges in resolving fine details of the strain distribution in the cell during loading due to geometry-based stress concentrations. Therefore, the objective of this effort is to develop a high-resolution computational model of neuronal deformation that will enable us to compute strains throughout the cell. Using high resolution images of a single neuron enables the inclusion of all major components of the neuronal cell, including the tortuous axons and dendrites. In the experimental settings, the cell is immersed in a collagen gel which play a role in the mechanical response. In our computational model, both the gel and the neuron are included using an embedded constraint. The process of cellular segmentation, surface improvement and final finite element meshing took extensive work, and the process from experimental results to dynamic model will be discussed. The time-dependent simulation and the experimental results will be compared and we will highlight areas where the computational simulation help elucidate fine details of the strain and injury correlations.