The viscoelastic properties of elastin are closely related to its microstructures and the external mechanical and chemical environments. The elastin network in the medial layer of arteries consists of hydrated microfibrils that are approximately 3μm in diameter, which are assembled into the lamellar structures at the microscopic level. In previous work, molecular probe techniques have been used to characterize the organization of purified elastin [1]. The microfibrils were found to contain a network of water-filled pores accessible to solutes with molecular weights below 1000 daltons. The water spaces between and around fibrils were accessible to much larger solutes. The intra- and extrafibrillar compartments can be modified by mechanical stresses, chemical environment, osmotic pressure, and temperature.

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