Growth is a significant factor that results in deformations of tubular organs, and particular deformations associated with growth enable tubular organs to perform certain physiological functions. Configuring growth profiles that achieve particular deformation patterns is critical for analyzing potential pathological conditions and for developing corresponding clinical treatments for tubular organ dysfunctions. However, deformation-targeted growth is rarely studied. In this article, the human cervix during pregnancy is studied as an example to show how cervical thinning and dilation are generated by growth. An advanced hyperelasticity theory called morphoelasticity is employed to model the deformations, and a growth tensor is used to represent growth in three principle directions. The computational results demonstrate that both negative radial growth and positive circumferential growth facilitate thinning and dilation. Modeling such mixed growth represents an advancement beyond commonly used uniform growth inside tissues to study tubular deformations. The results reveal that complex growth may occur inside tissues to achieve certain tubular deformations. Integration of further biochemical and cellular activities that initiate and mediate such complex growth remains to be explored.
Gou K, Baek S, Lutnesky MMF, Han H-C (2021). Growth-profile configuration for specific deformations of tubular organs: A study of growth-induced thinning and dilation of the human cervix. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0255895. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255895