Age-dependent properties and quasi-static strain in the rat sagittal suture

James H. Henderson, Lillian Y. Chang, Han Joon M. Song, Michael T. Longaker, Dennis R. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We measured the morphology of and performed tensile tests on sagittal sutures from rats of postnatal age 2 to 60 days. Using the properties measured ex vivo and a pressure vessel-based analysis, we estimated the quasi-static strain that had existed in the suture in vivo from 2 to 60 days. Sutural thickness, width, and stiffness per length were notable properties found to be age dependent. Sutural thickness increased 4.5-fold (0.11-0.50 mm) between 2 and 60 days. Sutural width increased transiently between 2 and 20 days, peaking around 8 days; at 8 days, mean sutural width was 75% larger than mean sutural width at two days (0.35±0.07 (SD) vs. 0.20±0.06 mm). Sutural stiffness per length increased 4.4-fold (8.77-38.3 N/mm/mm) between 2 and 60 days. The quasi-static sutural strain estimated to exist in vivo averaged 270±190 με between 2 and 60 days and was not age dependent. These findings provide data on the age-dependent sutural properties of infant to mature rats and provide the first estimate of quasi-static sutural strain in vivo in the rat. The findings show that during development the rat sagittal suture, as a structure, changes significantly and is exposed to quasi-static tensile strain in vivo due to intracranial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2294-2301
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cranial growth
  • Cranial sutures
  • Material properties
  • Mechanical properties
  • Sutural geometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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