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Phys Med Biol. 2009 Apr 7;54(7):2121-30. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/54/7/018. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

Quantifying lung morphology with respiratory-gated micro-CT in a murine model of emphysema.

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Department of Physics, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3, Canada.


Non-invasive micro-CT imaging techniques have been developed to investigate lung structure in free-breathing rodents. In this study, we investigate the utility of retrospectively respiratory-gated micro-CT imaging in an emphysema model to determine if anatomical changes could be observed in the image-derived quantitative analysis at two respiratory phases. The emphysema model chosen was a well-characterized, genetically altered model (TIMP-3 knockout mice) that exhibits a homogeneous phenotype. Micro-CT scans of the free-breathing, anaesthetized mice were obtained in 50 s and retrospectively respiratory sorted and reconstructed, providing 3D images representing peak inspiration and end expiration with 0.15 mm isotropic voxel spacing. Anatomical measurements included the volume and CT density of the lungs and the volume of the major airways, along with the diameters of the trachea, left bronchus and right bronchus. From these measurements, functional parameters such as functional residual capacity and tidal volume were calculated. Significant differences between the wild-type and TIMP-3 knockout groups were observed for measurements of CT density over the entire lung, indicating increased air content in the lungs of TIMP-3 knockout mice. These results demonstrate retrospective respiratory-gated micro-CT, providing images at multiple respiratory phases that can be analyzed quantitatively to investigate anatomical changes in murine models of emphysema.

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