Coaxially electrospun axon-mimicking fibers for diffusion magnetic resonance imaging

Feng Lei Zhou, Penny L. Hubbard, Stephen J. Eichhorn, Geoff Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The study of brain structure and connectivity using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) has recently gained substantial interest. However, the use of dMRI still faces major challenges because of the lack of standard materials for validation. The present work reports on brain tissue-mimetic materials composed of hollow microfibers for application as a standard material in dMRI. These hollow fibers were fabricated via a simple and one-step coaxial electrospining (co-ES) process. Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and polyethylene oxide (PEO) were employed as shell and core materials, respectively, to achieve the most stable co-ES process. These co-ES hollow PCL fibers have different inner diameters, which mainly depend on the flow rate of the core solution and have the potential to cover the size range of the brain tissue we aimed to mimic. Co-ES aligned hollow PCL fibers were characterized using optical and electron microscopy and tested as brain white matter mimics on a high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that co-ES hollow fibers have been successfully used as a tissue mimic or phantom in diffusion MRI. The results of the present study provide evidence that this phantom can mimic the dMRI behavior of cellular barriers imposed by axonal cell membranes and myelin; the measured diffusivity is compatible with that of in vivo biological tissues. Together these results suggest the potential use of co-ES hollow microfibers as tissue-mimicking phantoms in the field of medical imaging. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6311-6316
    Number of pages5
    JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2012


    • coaxial electrospinning
    • diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
    • hollow fibers
    • phantom


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