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Eur Radiol. 2010 Sep;20(9):2126-34. doi: 10.1007/s00330-010-1768-9. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

Spectroscopic (multi-energy) CT distinguishes iodine and barium contrast material in MICE.

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Department of Radiology, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand.



Spectral CT differs from dual-energy CT by using a conventional X-ray tube and a photon-counting detector. We wished to produce 3D spectroscopic images of mice that distinguished calcium, iodine and barium.


We developed a desktop spectral CT, dubbed MARS, based around the Medipix2 photon-counting energy-discriminating detector. The single conventional X-ray tube operated at constant voltage (75 kVp) and constant current (150 microA). We anaesthetised with ketamine six black mice (C57BL/6). We introduced iodinated contrast material and barium sulphate into the vascular system, alimentary tract and respiratory tract as we euthanised them. The mice were preserved in resin and imaged at four detector energy levels from 12 keV to 42 keV to include the K-edges of iodine (33.0 keV) and barium (37.4 keV). Principal component analysis was applied to reconstructed images to identify components with independent energy response, then displayed in 2D and 3D.


Iodinated and barium contrast material was spectrally distinct from soft tissue and bone in all six mice. Calcium, iodine and barium were displayed as separate channels on 3D colour images at <55 microm isotropic voxels.


Spectral CT distinguishes contrast agents with K-edges only 4 keV apart. Multi-contrast imaging and molecular CT are potential future applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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