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Applications of novel MRI technologies in tissue engineering and disease diagnosis

Vahid Khalilzad-Sharghi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) are increasingly under investigation to explore their potential role in establishing effective evaluation methods for the procedure of tissue regeneration carried out in vitro, in vivo, and in disease diagnosis. To this end, there is a continuous pursuit of novel tools both in vitro and in vivo. For instance, there is a great need for the development and evaluation of an MR-compatible incubation system that enables simultaneous monitoring and culturing of cell and tissue constructs using MRI techniques. Such an imaging-compatible incubation system eliminates exposing the culture to the risks of temperature shock, sample contamination, and handling/stress during evaluation tests. Samples, therefore, are not wasted, and can be implanted in animal models for following in vivo experiments. While in vitro tissue engineering studies allow for extraction of useful information, the experimental conditions cannot be truly replicated in the in vivo environment. Animal models, therefore, are critical to assess and characterize the regeneration of the engineered tissues. Furthermore, continuous observation of regenerating tissues using imaging modalities can lead to a decreased number of animals, where each animal acts as its own control. In an effort to develop a device to promote the role of MRI in tissue engineering, including extraction of leading biomarkers for in vitro studies, the e-incubator system was developed, which is an autonomous MRI-compatible incubation system. MRI was also applied in vivo on mouse models to show the potential of different MRI contrast mechanisms in characterizing tissue-engineered bone and cartilage. The engineered constructs were also imaged in vivo using MRE to characterize their stiffness changes. Furthermore, the role of MRE in diagnosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was investigated by monitoring the variations of liver stiffness followed by the analysis of changes in gene expression of fibrosis-specific genes in a mouse model. Altogether, this dissertation work showed the potential of MRI technologies in promoting tissue engineering and disease diagnosis through introducing the e-incubator system, providing noninvasive in vivo imaging markers for bone and cartilage regeneration, and describing MRE as an effective noninvasive method for early detection of NAFLD.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Electrical engineering|Computer science

Recommended Citation

Khalilzad-Sharghi, Vahid, "Applications of novel MRI technologies in tissue engineering and disease diagnosis" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3644235.