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Med Phys. 2002 Dec;29(12):2830-9.

Performance evaluation of a pinhole SPECT system for myocardial perfusion imaging of mice.

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  • 1Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, University of California-San Francisco, 94143-0628, USA.


The increasing use of transgenic mice as models of human physiology and disease has motivated the development of dedicated in vivo imaging systems for anatomic and functional characterization of mice as an adjunct to or a replacement for established ex vivo techniques. We have developed a pinhole single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) system for high resolution imaging of mice with cardiovascular imaging as the primary application. In this work, we characterize the system performance through phantom studies. The spatial resolution and sensitivity were measured from images of a line source and point source, respectively, and were reported for a range of object-to-pinhole distances and pinhole diameters. Tomographic images of a uniform cylindrical phantom, Defrise phantom, and grid phantom were used to characterize the image uniformity and spatial linearity. The uniform phantom image did not contain any ring or reconstruction artifacts, but blurring in the axial direction was evident in the Defrise phantom images. The grid phantom images demonstrated excellent spatial linearity. A novel phantom modeling perfusion of the left ventricle of a mouse was designed and built with perfusion defects of varying sizes to evaluate the system performance for myocardial perfusion imaging of mice. The defect volumes were measured from the pinhole SPECT images and correlated to the actual defect volumes calculated according to geometric formulas. Linear regression analysis produced a correlation coefficient of r = 0.995 (p < 0.001), demonstrating the feasibility for measurement of perfusion defect size in mice using pinhole SPECT. We have performed phantom studies to characterize the spatial resolution, sensitivity, image uniformity, and spatial linearity of the pinhole SPECT system. Measurement of the perfusion defect size is a valuable phenotypic assessment and will be useful for hypothesis testing in murine models of cardiovascular disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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