Nanoparticles (NPs) are currently under intensive research for their application in tumor diagnosis and therapy. X-ray fluorescence computed tomography (XFCT) is considered a promising non-invasive imaging technique to obtain the bio-distribution of nanoparticles which include high-Z elements (e.g., gadolinium (Gd) or gold (Au)). In the present work, a set of experiments with quantitative imaging of GdNPs in mice were performed using our benchtop XFCT device. GdNPs solution which consists of 20 mg/mL NaGdF4 was injected into a nude mouse and two tumor-bearing mice. Each mouse was then irradiated by a cone-beam X-ray source produced by a conventional X-ray tube and a linear-array photon counting detector with a single pinhole collimator was placed on one side of the beamline to record the intensity and spatial information of the X-ray fluorescent photons. The maximum likelihood iterative algorithm with scatter correction and attenuation correction method was applied for quantitative reconstruction of the XFCT images. The results show that the distribution of GdNPs in each target slice (containing liver, kidney or tumor) was well reconstructed and the concentration of GdNPs deposited in each organ was quantitatively estimated, which indicates that this benchtop XFCT system provides convenient tools for obtaining accurate concentration distribution of NPs injected into animals and has potential for imaging of nanoparticles in vivo.
Keywords: Gd nanoparticles; X-ray fluorescence; computed tomography; quantitative image reconstruction.