Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) was extended to the microscopic scale to image low-frequency acoustic shear waves (typically less than 1 kHz) in soft gels and soft biological tissues with high spatial resolution (34 μm × 34 μm × 500 μm). Microscopic MRE (μMRE) was applied to agarose gel phantoms, frog oocytes, and tissue-engineered adipogenic and osteogenic constructs. Analysis of the low-amplitude shear wave pattern in the samples allowed the material stiffness and viscous loss properties (complex shear stiffness) to be identified with high spatial resolution. μMRE experiments were conducted at 11.74 T in a 56-mm vertical bore magnet with a 10 mm diameter × 75 mm length cylindrical space available for the elastography imaging system. The acoustic signals were generated at 550-585 Hz using a piezoelectric transducer and high capacitive loading amplifier. Shear wave motion was applied in synchrony with the MR pulse sequence. The field of view (FOV) ranged from 4 to 14 mm for a typical slice thickness of 0.5 mm. Increasing the agarose gel concentration resulted in an increase in shear elasticity and shear viscosity. Shear wave motion propagated through the frog oocyte nucleus, enabling the measurement of its shear stiffness, and in vitro shear wave images displayed contrast between adipogenic and osteogenic tissue-engineered constructs. Further development of μMRE should enable its use in characterizing stiffer materials (e.g., polymers, composites, articular cartilage) and assessing with high resolution the mechanical properties of developing tissues.
- Cell mechanobiology
- Magnetic resonance elastography
- Magnetic resonance microscopy
- Tissue elasticity
- Tissue engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging