Low-density tissue scaffold imaging by synchrotron radiation propagation-based imaging computed tomography with helical acquisition mode

Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 2023 Volume 30, Pages 417-429

Visualization of low-density tissue scaffolds made from hydro­gels is important yet challenging in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM). For this, synchrotron radiation propagation-based imaging computed tomography (SR-PBI-CT) has great potential, but is limited due to the ring artifacts commonly observed in SR-PBI-CT images. To address this issue, this study focuses on the integration of SR-PBI-CT and helical acquisition mode (i.e. SR-PBI-HCT) to visualize hydro­gel scaffolds. The influence of key imaging parameters on the image quality of hydro­gel scaffolds was investigated, including the helical pitch (p), photon energy (E) and the number of acquisition projections per rotation/revolution (Np), and, on this basis, those parameters were optimized to improve image quality and to reduce noise level and artifacts. The results illustrate that SR-PBI-HCT imaging shows impressive advantages in avoiding ring artifacts with p = 1.5, E = 30 keV and Np = 500 for the visualization of hydro­gel scaffolds in vitro. Furthermore, the results also demonstrate that hydro­gel scaffolds can be visualized using SR-PBI-HCT with good contrast while at a low radiation dose, i.e. 342 mGy (voxel size of 26 µm, suitable for in vivo imaging). This paper presents a systematic study on hydro­gel scaffold imaging using SR-PBI-HCT and the results reveal that SR-PBI-HCT is a powerful tool for visualizing and characterizing low-density scaffolds with a high image quality in vitro. This work represents a significant advance toward the non-invasive in vivo visualization and characterization of hydro­gel scaffolds at a suitable radiation dose.