In vivo small animal micro-CT using nanoparticle contrast agents.
Computed tomography (CT) is one of the most valuable modalities for in vivo imaging because it is fast, high-resolution, cost-effective, and non-invasive. Moreover, CT is heavily used not only in the clinic (for both diagnostics and treatment planning) but also in preclinical research as micro-CT. Although CT is inherently effective for lung and bone imaging, soft tissue imaging requires the use of contrast agents. For small animal micro-CT, nanoparticle contrast agents are used in order to avoid rapid renal clearance. A variety of nanoparticles have been used for micro-CT imaging, but the majority of research has focused on the use of iodine-containing nanoparticles and gold nanoparticles. Both nanoparticle types can act as highly effective blood pool contrast agents or can be targeted using a wide variety of targeting mechanisms. CT imaging can be further enhanced by adding spectral capabilities to separate multiple co-injected nanoparticles in vivo. Spectral CT, using both energy-integrating and energy-resolving detectors, has been used with multiple contrast agents to enable functional and molecular imaging. This review focuses on new developments for in vivo small animal micro-CT using novel nanoparticle probes applied in preclinical research.
Ashton, JR; West, JL; Badea, CT
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