Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an emerging noninvasive imaging modality. In this study, highly aligned, uniform, nanoporous, hollow polycaprolactone fibers were successfully synthesized in a single step to mimic the axon bundle structure in human white matter. Their porous nature, morphology, and physicochemical properties were carefully studied with respect to their suitability as a phantom material for brain imaging. The aligned fibrous bundles were then arranged into specific angles (30 and 90°), scanned, and evaluated with high-resolution MRI fiber tractography. Diffusion tensor imaging and the tractography of fibers of five different structures at three temperatures were acquired and compared. Furthermore, an integrated brain phantom created from a combination of agar gel and aligned fibrous bundles was also fabricated and analyzed. The results demonstrate the excellent ability of the fibers to mimic the axonal bundles of brain white matter. The fibrous bundles were well mixed in the common agar phantom while retaining their fibrous configuration; this demonstrated their potential as brain white matter phantoms.
- biomedical applications