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Transmural remodeling of right ventricular myocardium in response to pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) imposes substantial pressure overload on the right ventricular free wall (RVFW), leading to myofiber hypertrophy and remodeling of its collagen fiber architecture. The transmural nature of these adaptations and their effects on the macroscopic mechanical behavior of the RVFW remain largely unexplored. In the present work, we extended our constitutive model for RVFW myocardium to investigate the transmural mechanical and structural remodeling post-PAH. Recent murine experimental studies provided us with comprehensive histomorphological and biaxial mechanical data for viable, passive myocardium for normal and post hypertensive cases. Multiple fiber-level remodeling events were found to be localized in the midwall region (40% < depth < 60%): (i) reorientation and alignment of both myo- and collagen fibers towards longitudinal (apex-to-outflow tract) direction, (ii) substantial increase in the rate of the recruitment of collagen fibers with strain, and (iii) a corresponding increase in the mechanical interactions between the collagen and myofibers. These adaptations suggest a denser and more fibrous connective tissue in the midwall region, and led to a substantially stiffer mechanical response along the longitudinal direction in post-PAH tissues. Moreover, using a Laplace-type mechanical equilibrium analysis of the right ventricle to approximate the wall stress state, we estimated that the longitudinal component of stress remained higher in the hypertensive state while the circumferential component approximately maintained homeostasis values. This result was consistent with our observation from the fiber- and tissue-level remodeling that longitudinally oriented collagen fibers, localized in the midwall region, dominated the remodeling process. The findings of this study highlight the need for more integrated cellular-tissue-organ analysis to better understand the remodeling events during PAH and design interventions.

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