Multicolor spectral photon-counting computed tomography: in vivo dual contrast imaging with a high count rate scanner

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 6;7(1):4784. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04659-9.


A new prototype spectral photon-counting computed tomography (SPCCT) based on a modified clinical CT system has been developed. SPCCT analysis of the energy composition of the transmitted x-ray spectrum potentially allows simultaneous dual contrast agent imaging, however, this has not yet been demonstrated with such a system. We investigated the feasibility of using this system to distinguish gold nanoparticles (AuNP) and an iodinated contrast agent. The contrast agents and calcium phosphate were imaged in phantoms. Conventional CT, gold K-edge, iodine and water images were produced and demonstrated accurate discrimination and quantification of gold and iodine concentrations in a phantom containing mixtures of the contrast agents. In vivo experiments were performed using New Zealand White rabbits at several times points after injections of AuNP and iodinated contrast agents. We found that the contrast material maps clearly differentiated the distributions of gold and iodine in the tissues allowing quantification of the contrast agents' concentrations, which matched their expected pharmacokinetics. Furthermore, rapid, repetitive scanning was done, which allowed measurement of contrast agent kinetics with high temporal resolution. In conclusion, a clinical scale, high count rate SPCCT system is able to discriminate gold and iodine contrast media in different organs in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Gold / pharmacokinetics
  • Iopamidol / analogs & derivatives
  • Iopamidol / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Rabbits
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Contrast Media
  • iomeprol
  • Gold
  • calcium phosphate
  • Iopamidol