Feasibility of whole-body functional mouse imaging using helical pinhole SPECT

Mol Imaging Biol. 2010 Jan-Feb;12(1):35-41. doi: 10.1007/s11307-009-0234-z. Epub 2009 Jun 12.


Purpose: Detailed in vivo whole-body biodistributions of radiolabeled tracers may characterize the longitudinal progression of disease, and changes with therapeutic interventions. Small-animal imaging in mice is particularly attractive due to the wide array of well characterized genetically and surgically created models of disease. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging using pinhole collimation provides high resolution and sensitivity, but conventional methods using circular acquisitions result in severe image truncation and incomplete sampling of data, which prevent the accurate determination of whole-body radiotracer biodistributions. This study describes the feasibility of helical acquisition paths to mitigate these effects.

Procedures: Helical paths of pinhole apertures were implemented using an external robotic stage aligned with the axis of rotation (AOR) of the scanner. Phantom and mouse scans were performed using helical paths and either circular or bi-circular orbits at the same radius of rotation (ROR). The bi-circular orbits consisted of two 360-degree scans separated by an axial shift to increase the axial field of view (FOV) and to improve the complete-sampling properties.

Results: Reconstructions of phantoms and mice acquired with helical paths show good image quality and are visually free of both truncation and axial-blurring artifacts. Circular orbits yielded reconstructions with both artifacts and a limited effective FOV. The bi-circular scans enlarged the axial FOV, but still suffered from truncation and sampling artifacts.

Conclusions: Helical paths can provide complete sampling data and large effective FOV, yielding 3D full-body in vivo biodistributions while still maintaining a small distance from the aperture to the object for good sensitivity and resolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Mice
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*