Evaluation of affine fiber kinematics in human supraspinatus tendon using quantitative projection plot analysis

Spencer P. Lake, Daniel H. Cortes, Jennifer A. Kadlowec, Louis J. Soslowsky, Dawn M. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Structural constitutive modeling approaches are often based on the assumption of affine fiber kinematics, even though this assumption has rarely been evaluated experimentally. We are interested in applying mathematical models to understand the mechanisms responsible for the inhomogeneous, anisotropic, and non-linear properties of human supraspinatus tendon (SST); however, the relationship between macroscopic and fiber-level deformation in this tendon remains unknown and current methods for making this assessment are inadequate. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop an improved method for quantitatively assessing agreement between two distributions and to examine the affine assumption in SST by comparing experimental fiber alignment to affine model predictions using this analysis approach. Measured fiber angle values of SST samples in uniaxial tensile tests were compared with predictions of affine fiber deformation using modified projection plots, which provide amethod for qualitative and quantitative comparisons of two distributions. The projection plot metrics of offset and range, which were developed in this study, are of particular benefit by providing a quantitative representation of agreement that can be subjected to statistical comparisons. For SST, offset and range values varied by tendon location and test orientation, with more affine deformation evidenced for tendon regions of higher alignment. Results suggest that non-affine fiber behavior is dependent on specific tissue, orientation of the applied stretch relative to the fiber organization, and length scale of the observation. In addition, this study has established a method for evaluating the affine assumption in other tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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