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Evaluation of high-resolution pinhole SPECT using a small rotating animal



Evaluation of high-resolution pinhole SPECT using a small rotating animal



Journal of Nuclear Medicine 42(12): 1863-1869



Ex vivo measurements in animals are used frequently in the field of nuclear medicine for the characterization of newly developed radioligands and for drug development. In vivo SPECT would replace these ex vivo measurements in a relatively large number of cases if one were able to adequately image small organs. The pinhole collimator has been used extensively to obtain greater detail in planar imaging. However, using a pinhole collimator for SPECT is difficult because it requires a heavy collimated detector to rotate around a small object with a constant radius of rotation. Methods: We have developed a mechanism in which the gantry and collimator are fixed and the animal rotates. Hollow cylinders of different sizes were made to enable imaging of small animals of different sizes: mice, hamsters, and rats. The cylinder is mounted on a stepping motor-driven system and positioned exactly above the pinhole collimator of an ARC3000 camera with a 1-mm pinhole insert. The stepping motor is controlled by the Hermes acquisition/processing system. After imaging each projection, a signal is given to rotate the stepping motor with the desired number of angular degrees. Filtered backprojection, adapted to pinhole SPECT, was used for reconstruction. The system allows adjustments of the radius of rotation and along the axis of the cylinder to select the field of view. Calibration experiments were performed to ensure that the axis of rotation was exactly in the middle of the cylinder. Phantom experiments were performed to assess sensitivity, spatial resolution, and uniformity of the system and to test the system for distortion artifacts. In addition, a brain dopamine transporter rat study and a hamster myocardial study were performed to test the clinical feasibility of the entire system. Results: In the line source experiment, the spatial resolution obtained in air was 1.3 mm full width at half maximum, with a radius of rotation of 33 mm. Furthermore, the system has good uniformity and is capable of detecting cold spots of 2-mm diameter. The animal studies showed that it was feasible to image receptors or transporters and organs with sufficient detail in a practical setup. Conclusion: A rotating cylinder mechanism for pinhole SPECT is feasible and shows the same characteristics as conventional pinhole SPECT with a rotating camera head, without distortion artifacts. This mechanism permits pinhole SPECT to replace many ex vivo animal experiments.

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Accession: 010616193

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PMID: 11752086



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