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Coaxial electrospun biomimetic copolymer fibres for application in diffusion magnetic resonance imaging

Zhou, F; McHugh, D; Li, Z; Gough, J; Williams, G; Parker, G; (2021) Coaxial electrospun biomimetic copolymer fibres for application in diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 10.1088/1748-3190/abedcf. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The use of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) opens the door to characterise brain microstructure because water diffusion is anisotropic in axonal fibres in brain white matter and is sensitive to tissue microstructural changes. As dMRI becomes more sophisticated and microstructurally informative, it has become increasingly important to use a reference object (usually called imaging phantom) for validation of dMRI. This study aims to develop axon-mimicking physical phantoms from biocopolymers and assess their feasibility to validate dMRI measurements. APPROACH: We employed a simple and one-step method-coaxial electrospinning-to prepare axon-mimicking hollow microfibres from polycaprolactone-b-polyethylene glycol (PCL-b-PEG) and poly(D, L-lactide-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA), and used them as building elements to create axon-mimicking phantoms. Electrospinning was firstly conducted using two types of PCL-b-PEG and two types of PLGA with different molecular weights in various solvents with different polymer concentrations for determining their spinnability. The polymer/solvent-concentration combinations with good fibre spinnability were used as the shell material in the following co-electrospinning process in which the polyethylene oxide (PEO) polymer was used as the core material. Following microstructural characterisation of both electrospun and co-electrospun fibres using optical and electron microscopy, two prototype phantoms were constructed from co-electrospun anisotropic hollow microfibres after inserting them into water-filled test tubes. MAIN RESULTS: Hollow microfibres that mimic the axon microstructure were successfully prepared from the appropriate core and shell material combinations. dMRI measurements of two phantoms on a 7 tesla (T) pre-clinical scanner revealed that diffusivity and anisotropy measurements are in the range of brain white matter. SIGNIFICANCE: This feasibility study showed that co-electrospun PCL-b-PEG and PLGA microfibres-based axon-mimicking phantoms could be used in the validation of dMRI methods which seek to characterise white matter microstructure.

Type: Article
Title: Coaxial electrospun biomimetic copolymer fibres for application in diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-3190/abedcf
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-3190/abedcf
Language: English
Additional information: As the Version of Record of this article is going to be/has been published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY 3.0 licence, this Accepted Manuscript is available for reuse under a CC BY 3.0 licence immediately.
Keywords: coaxial electrospinning, copolymers, diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, hollow microfibres, imaging phantoms
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124227
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