Micro-CT of the human lung: imaging of alveoli and virtual endoscopy of an alveolar duct in a normal lung and in a lung with centrilobular emphysema--initial observations

Radiology. 2005 Sep;236(3):1053-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2363041142.


The appearance of human lung parenchyma at the structural level of alveoli was investigated by the use of micro-computed tomography (CT). Approval for use of autopsy lungs was given by the head of the pathology institute of the university, in accordance with the requirements of the State Ministry of Science and Arts and without the need for institutional review board approval. Two human lungs (one normal lung and one lung with centrilobular emphysema of a mild to moderate degree) were inflated and fixed with hot formalin vapor. Lung specimens excised from the superior segment of the left lower lobe (B6) were stained with silver nitrate in a vacuum and investigated at a volume of interest of 4 mm for each side with a voxel size of 14 mum. Normal-size and enlarged alveoli became visible. A three-dimensional reconstruction of the terminal airspaces made virtual endoscopy of the alveolar ducts possible.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Microradiography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*