Function and failure of the fetal membrane: Modelling the mechanics of the chorion and amnion

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Title: Function and failure of the fetal membrane: Modelling the mechanics of the chorion and amnion
Author(s): Verbruggen, SVW
Oyen, M
Phillips, A
Nowlan, NC
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The fetal membrane surrounds the fetus during pregnancy and is a thin tissue composed of two layers, the chorion and the amnion. While r upture of this membrane normally occurs at term , preterm rupture can result in increased risk of fetal mortality and morbidity, as well as danger of infection in the mother. Although structural changes have been observed in the membrane in such cases, the mechanical behaviour of the huma n fetal membrane in vivo remains poorly understood and is challenging to investigate experimentally . Therefore , the objective of this study wa s to d evelop simplified finite element models to investigate the mechanical behaviour and rupture of the fetal mem brane , particularly its constituent layers , under various physiological conditions. It was found that modelling the chorion and amnion as a single layer predicts remarkably different behaviour compared with a more anatomically - accurate bilayer , significantly underestimating stress in the amnion and under - predicting the risk of membrane rupture. Additionally, reductions in chorion - amnion interface lubrication and chorion thickness ( reported in cases of preterm rupture ) both result ed in increased membrane stress. Interestingly, the inclusion of a weak zone in the fetal membrane that has been observed to develop overlying the cervix would likely cause it to fail at term , during labour. Finally, these findings support the theory that the amnion is t he dominant structural component of the fetal membrane and is required to maintain its integrity. The results provide a novel insight into the mechanical effect of structural changes in the chorion and amnion , in cases of both normal and preterm rupture.
Publication Date: 28-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance: 24-Jan-2017
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Journal / Book Title: PLOS One
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Verbruggen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited (
Sponsor/Funder: Arthritis Research UK
Funder's Grant Number: 20683
Keywords: General Science & Technology
MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: e0171588
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering

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