The effect of aging and pressure on the specific hydraulic conductivity of the aortic wall

M. D. Whale, A. J. Grodzinsky, M. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We measured the specific hydraulic conductivity (K) of the human and bovine aortic wall, two tissues for which K has not been previously reported in the literature, and examined the effects of aging (human) and development (bovine) on K. As part of the study, we also examined the effects of mounting the tissue in a flat or cylindrical configuration and the effects of perfusion pressure. With aging, in the human, we found a modest increase of K with age in a flat geometry; this trend was not apparent in a limited number of measurements in a cylindrical geometry. No significant dependence of K on developmental stage was found in the bovine aortic wall perfused in either a flat or cylindrical geometry. Our results indicate that aging and developmental changes of the aortic extracellular matrix have minimal effects on its hydrodynamic transport properties as measured. Mounting geometry for the aorta has been a concern reported in the literature since Yamartino et al. (1974) reported that K in the rabbit was 10-fold lower when measured in a flat geometry than in a cylindrical geometry. We found mounting geometry to make only a small difference in the calf and the cow, (K(flat) approximately 2/3 of K(cylindrical)), and in the human, we found K to be somewhat higher in the flat geometry than in the cylindrical geometry. Higher perfusion pressures decreased K of bovine tissue in the flat geometry, but pressure was not found to have a significant effect on K in the cylindrical geometry. An analytical model demonstrated that the anisotropic nature of the aortic wall allows it to be compressible (water-expressing) and yet remain at nearly constant tissue volume as the aorta is pressurized in a cylindrical geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-44
Number of pages28
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • anisotropic
  • aorta
  • compressible
  • perfusion
  • permeability
  • strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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