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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2010 Aug;37(9):1766-77. doi: 10.1007/s00259-009-1321-8. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Small-animal SPECT and SPECT/CT: application in cardiovascular research.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Preclinical cardiovascular research using noninvasive radionuclide and hybrid imaging systems has been extensively developed in recent years. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is based on the molecular tracer principle and is an established tool in noninvasive imaging. SPECT uses gamma cameras and collimators to form projection data that are used to estimate (dynamic) 3-D tracer distributions in vivo. Recent developments in multipinhole collimation and advanced image reconstruction have led to sub-millimetre and sub-half-millimetre resolution SPECT in rats and mice, respectively. In this article we review applications of microSPECT in cardiovascular research in which information about the function and pathology of the myocardium, vessels and neurons is obtained. We give examples on how diagnostic tracers, new therapeutic interventions, pre- and postcardiovascular event prognosis, and functional and pathophysiological heart conditions can be explored by microSPECT, using small-animal models of cardiovascular disease.

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