Applications involving freeze-thaw in arteries such as cryoplasty and cryopreservation alter the arterial biomechanics significantly [1]. Tissue dehydration or bulk water loss is observed following freeze-thaw in native arteries as well as other artificial tissues [1, 2]. It is hypothesized that tissue dehydration observed during freeze-thaw is an important mechanism underlying the biomechanical changes in arteries. In order to test this hypothesis, dehydration was induced in arteries (without changing temperature or phase) by treating them with different concentrations of hyperosmotic mannitol solutions. Changes to smooth muscle cell (SMC) contractility, collagen matrix structure and overall artery biomechanics were studied following tissue dehydration. SMC contractility and relaxation were measured by studying the response of arteries to norepinephrine (NE) and acetylcholine (AC) respectively. Collagen matrix structure was assessed by studying the thermal denaturation of collagen due to heating using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and the overall artery biomechanics through uniaxial tensile tests.

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