Changes to the viscoelastic properties of brain tissue after traumatic axonal injury

Mehdi Shafieian, Kurosh K. Darvish*, James R. Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


While it has been shown that repetitive mild brain injuries can cause cumulative damage to the brain, changes to the mechanical properties of brain tissue at large deformations were also noted in the literature. The goal of this study was to show that the viscoelastic properties of brain tissue significantly change after traumatic axonal injury (TAI). An impact acceleration model was used to create TAI in the rat brainstem which was quantified with an immunohistochemistry technique at the ponto-medullary junction (PmJ) and pyramidal decussation (PDx). The viscoelastic properties at these two points with and without preconditioning were characterized using an indentation technique combined with finite element analysis and a comparison was made between injured and uninjured specimens, which revealed statistically significant reduction in the instantaneous elastic force at PDx where the brain tissue sustained a significantly higher level of injury. The result of this study can be used to characterize a damage function for the brain tissue undergoing large deformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2136-2142
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number13
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain biomechanics
  • Damage function
  • Finite element analysis
  • Indentation test
  • Properties of brain tissue
  • Traumatic axonal injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Viscoelastic


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