Handschuh, S; Beisser, CJ; Ruthensteiner, B; Metscher, BD
Microscopic dual-energy CT (microDECT): a flexible tool for multichannel ex vivo 3D imaging of biological specimens.
J Microsc. 2017; 267(1):3-26
Autor/innen der Vetmeduni Vienna:
- Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) uses two different x-ray energy spectra in order to differentiate between tissues, materials or elements in a single sample or patient. DECT is becoming increasingly popular in clinical imaging and preclinical in vivo imaging of small animal models, but there have been only very few reports on ex vivo DECT of biological samples at microscopic resolutions. The present study has three main aims. First, we explore the potential of microscopic DECT (microDECT) for delivering isotropic multichannel 3D images of fixed biological samples with standard commercial laboratory-based microCT setups at spatial resolutions reaching below 10 μm. Second, we aim for retaining the maximum image resolution and quality during the material decomposition. Third, we want to test the suitability for microDECT imaging of different contrast agents currently used for ex vivo staining of biological samples. To address these aims, we used microCT scans of four different samples stained with x-ray dense contrast agents. MicroDECT scans were acquired with five different commercial microCT scanners from four companies. We present a detailed description of the microDECT workflow, including sample preparation, image acquisition, image processing and postreconstruction material decomposition, which may serve as practical guide for applying microDECT. The MATLAB script (The Mathworks Inc., Natick, MA, USA) used for material decomposition (including a graphical user interface) is provided as a supplement to this paper (https://github.com/microDECT/DECTDec). In general, the presented microDECT workflow yielded satisfactory results for all tested specimens. Original scan resolutions have been mostly retained in the separate material fractions after basis material decomposition. In addition to decomposition of mineralized tissues (inherent sample contrast) and stained soft tissues, we present a case of double labelling of different soft tissues with subsequent material decomposition. We conclude that, in contrast to in vivo DECT examinations, small ex vivo specimens offer some clear advantages regarding technical parameters of the microCT setup and the use of contrast agents. These include a higher flexibility in source peak voltages and x-ray filters, a lower degree of beam hardening due to small sample size, the lack of restriction to nontoxic contrast agents and the lack of a limit in exposure time and radiation dose. We argue that microDECT, because of its flexibility combined with already established contrast agents and the vast number of currently unexploited stains, will in future represent an important technique for various applications in biological research.© 2017 The Authors Journal of Microscopy © 2017 Royal Microscopical Society.
Staining and Labelingmethods