In Vivo micro-CT Imaging of Liver Lesions in Small Animal Models

Methods. 2010 Jan;50(1):20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.05.016. Epub 2009 Jun 9.


Three-dimensional micro computed tomography (microCT) offers the opportunity to capture images liver structures and lesions in mice with a high spatial resolution. Non-invasive microCT allows for accurate calculation of vessel tortuosity and density, as well as liver lesion volume and distribution. Longitudinal monitoring of liver lesions is also possible. However, distinguishing liver lesions from variations within a normal liver is impossible by microCT without the use of liver- or tumor-specific contrast-enhancing agents. The combination of microCT for morphologic imaging with functional imaging, such as positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission tomography (SPECT), offers the opportunity for better abdominal imaging and assessment of structure discrepancies visible by functional imaging. This paper describes methods of current microCT imaging options for imaging of liver lesions compared to other imaging techniques in small animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Contrast Media / pharmacology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Mice
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Rats
  • Respiration
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*


  • Contrast Media