Peripheral neuropathy affects approximately 50% of the 15 million Americans with diabetes. It has been suggested that mechanical effects related to collagen glycation are related to the permanence of neuropathy. In the present paper, we develop a model for load transfer in a whole nerve, using a simple pressure vessel approximation, in order to assess the significant of stiffening of the collagenous nerve sheath on endoneurial fluid pressure. We also develop a fibril-scale mechanics model for the nerve, to model the straightening of wavy fibrils, producing the toe region observed in nerve tissue, and also to interrogate the effects of interfibrillar crosslinks on the overall properties of the tissue. Such collagen crosslinking has been implicated in complications in diabetic tissues. Our fibril-scale model uses a two-parameter Weibull model for fibril strength, in combination with statistical parameters describing fibril modulus, angle, wave-amplitude, and volume fraction to capture both toe region and failure region behavior of whole rat sciatic nerve. The extrema of equal and local load-sharing assumptions are used to map potential differences in diabetic and nondiabetic tissues. This work may ultimately be useful in differentiating between the responses of normal and heavily crosslinked tissue.

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