Intact Imaging of Human Heart Structure Using X-ray Phase-Contrast Tomography

Yukihiro Kaneko, Gen Shinohara, Masato Hoshino, Hiroyuki Morishita, Kiyozo Morita, Yoshihiro Oshima, Masashi Takahashi, Naoto Yagi, Yutaka Okita, Takuro Tsukube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Structural examination of human heart specimens at the microscopic level is a prerequisite for understanding congenital heart diseases. It is desirable not to destroy or alter the properties of such specimens because of their scarcity. However, many of the currently available imaging techniques either destroy the specimen through sectioning or alter the chemical and mechanical properties of the specimen through staining and contrast agent injection. As a result, subsequent studies may not be possible. X-ray phase-contrast tomography is an imaging modality for biological soft tissues that does not destroy or alter the properties of the specimen. The feasibility of X-ray phase-contrast tomography for the structural examination of heart specimens was tested using infantile and fetal heart specimens without congenital diseases. X-ray phase-contrast tomography was carried out at the SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility using the Talbot grating interferometer at the bending magnet beamline BL20B2 to visualize the structure of five non-pretreated whole heart specimens obtained by autopsy. High-resolution, three-dimensional images were obtained for all specimens. The images clearly showed the myocardial structure, coronary vessels, and conduction bundle. X-ray phase-contrast tomography allows high-resolution, three-dimensional imaging of human heart specimens. Intact imaging using X-ray phase-contrast tomography can contribute to further structural investigation of heart specimens with congenital heart diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-393
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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