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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 189197, 10 pages
Research Article

Age Dependent Differences in Collagen Alignment of Glutaraldehyde Fixed Bovine Pericardium

1School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Palmerston North 4472, New Zealand
2Southern Lights Biomaterials, Palmerston North 4110, New Zealand
3Structural Heart Division, Boston Scientific, Los Gatos, CA 95032, USA
4Australian Synchrotron, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 17 July 2014; Accepted 2 September 2014; Published 14 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jun Ren

Copyright © 2014 Katie H. Sizeland et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bovine pericardium is used for heart valve leaflet replacement where the strength and thinness are critical properties. Pericardium from neonatal animals (4–7 days old) is advantageously thinner and is considered as an alternative to that from adult animals. Here, the structures of adult and neonatal bovine pericardium tissues fixed with glutaraldehyde are characterized by synchrotron-based small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and compared with the mechanical properties of these materials. Significant differences are observed between adult and neonatal tissue. The glutaraldehyde fixed neonatal tissue has a higher modulus of elasticity (83.7 MPa) than adult pericardium (33.5 MPa) and a higher normalised ultimate tensile strength (32.9 MPa) than adult pericardium (19.1 MPa). Measured edge on to the tissue, the collagen in neonatal pericardium is significantly more aligned (orientation index (OI) 0.78) than that in adult pericardium (OI 0.62). There is no difference in the fibril diameter between neonatal and adult pericardium. It is shown that high alignment in the plane of the tissue provides the mechanism for the increased strength of the neonatal material. The superior strength of neonatal compared with adult tissue supports the use of neonatal bovine pericardium in heterografts.