Traumatic brain injury (TBI), resulting from either impact- or nonimpact blast-related mechanisms, is a devastating cause of death and disability. The cerebral blood vessels, which provide critical support for brain tissue in both health and disease, are commonly injured in TBI. However, little is known about how vessels respond to traumatic loading, particularly at rates relevant to blast. To better understand vessel responses to trauma, the objective of this project was to characterize the high-rate response of passive cerebral arteries. Rat middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were isolated and subjected to high-rate deformation in the axial direction. Vessels were perfused at physiological pressures and stretched to failure at strain rates ranging from approximately 100 to 1300 s−1. Although both in vivo stiffness and failure stress increased significantly with strain rate, failure stretch did not depend on rate.

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