The interest in small animal models of human diseases has generated a need to design a computed tomography (CT) system that operates at a microscopic level. It is particularly important to be able to visualize the dramatic rhythmical motion of organs such as the heart and lungs. In order to evaluate the motion of the heart and lungs of small animals (rats and mice), we developed in the present study a high-resolution 4D in vivo-CT system for small animals that uses synchrotron radiation. To reduce motion artifacts and the radiation dose, the projections were synchronized with airway pressure, the ECG, the x-ray shutter and the CCD shutter. For cardiovascular imaging, a blood pool contrast agent was injected and the data sets were acquired at several ECG points during the end-expiratory phase. For imaging of the lungs, the data sets were acquired at several airway pressures during diastole. The dynamic motion of the cardiovascular system (the ventricles and coronary arteries) and small airways (diameter > 250 μm of rats and 125 μm of mice) was visualized. This high-resolution imaging tool may be very useful for the development of novel drugs in murine models, in addition to its use in the study of cardiovascular and respiratory physiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging