Determining arterial mechanical properties is important for understanding the work done by the heart and how it changes with cardiovascular disease. Ex vivo tests are necessary to apply various loads to the artery and obtain data to model and predict the behavior under any load. Most ex vivo tests are performed within 24 h of dissection, so the tissue is still “alive.” For large elastic arteries; however, the passive mechanical behavior is attributed mostly to the very stable proteins, elastin, and collagen. If the testing equipment fails, is in use, or is located at another facility, it would be useful to store the vessels and postpone the tests until the equipment is available. The goal of this study is to determine the effects of storage time on the mechanical behavior of the common carotid artery from adult mice. Each artery was tested after storage for 1–28 days in physiologic saline at 4°C. There were no significant effects of storage time on the arterial diameter or force at each pressure, but there were significant effects on the stretch ratio and stress at each pressure. The significant effects on the stretch ratio and stress were due to decreases in the unloaded dimensions with storage time, when measured from cut arterial rings. When the unloaded dimensions were measured instead from histology sections, there were no significant changes with storage time. We conclude that histology sections yield a more consistent measurement of the unloaded dimensions and that there are no significant changes in the mechanical behavior of mouse carotid artery with storage up to 28 days.

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