Alison E. Patteson: 0000-0002-4004-1734

Bobby Carroll: 0000-0002-0536-9734

Minh Tri Ho Thanh: 0000-0002-9380-0191

Document Type



Fall 9-29-2022


Compression stiffening of tissues, Fiber networks with stiff inclusions, Poro-elasticity, Network remodeling at the mesoscale, Dynamic compression behavior




the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health

Funding ID



We thank Paul Janmey, J.M. Schwarz, and Arvind Gopinath for useful discussions. This work was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1R35GM142963-01.

Official Citation

Carroll B, Thanh MH, Patteson AE. Dynamic remodeling of fiber networks with stiff inclusions under compressive loading. Acta Biomater. 2023 Jun;163:106-116. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.09.063. Epub 2022 Sep 29. PMID: 36182057; PMCID: PMC10227767.




The ability of tissues to sustain and withstand mechanical stress is critical to tissue development and healthy tissue maintenance. The mechanical properties of tissues are typically considered to be dominated by the fibrous extracellular matrix (ECM) component of tissues. Fiber network mechanics can capture certain mechanical features of tissues, such as shear strain stiffening, but is insufficient in describing the compressive response of certain tissues and blood clots that are rich in extracellular matrix. To understand the mechanical response of tissues, we employ a contemporary mechanical model, a fibrous network of fibrin embedded with inert bead inclusions that preserve the volume-conserving constraints of cells in tissues. Combining bulk mechanical rheology and a custom imaging device, we show that the presence of inclusions alters the local dynamic remodeling of the networks undergoing uniaxial compressive strains and demonstrate non-affine correlated motion within a fiber-bead network, predicted to stretch fibers in the network and lead to the ability of the network to stiffen under compression, a key feature of real tissues. These findings have important implications for understanding how local structural properties of cells and ECM fibers impact the bulk mechanical response of real tissues.

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