Performance evaluation of small-animal multipinhole <tex>$\mu SPECT$</tex> scanners for mouse imaging
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. - Heidelberg
, p. 744-758
University of Antwerp
We compared the performance of three commercial small-animal mu SPECT scanners equipped with multipinhole general purpose (GP) and multipinhole high-resolution (HR) collimators designed for imaging mice. Spatial resolution, image uniformity, point source sensitivity and contrast recovery were determined for the U-SPECT-II (MILabs), the NanoSPECT-NSO (BioScan) and the X-SPECT (GE) scanners. The pinhole diameters of the HR collimator were 0.35 mm, 0.6 mm and 0.5 mm for these three systems respectively. A pinhole diameter of 1 mm was used for the GP collimator. To cover a broad field of imaging applications three isotopes were used with various photon energies: Tc-99m (140 keV), In-111 (171 and 245 keV) and I-125 (27 keV). Spatial resolution and reconstructed image uniformity were evaluated in both HR and a GP mode with hot rod phantoms, line sources and a uniform phantom. Point source sensitivity and contrast recovery measures were additionally obtained in the GP mode with a novel contrast recovery phantom developed in-house containing hot and cold submillimetre capillaries on a warm background. In hot rod phantom images, capillaries as small as 0.4 mm with the U-SPECT-II, 0.75 mm with the X-SPECT and 0.6 mm with the NanoSPECT-NSO could be resolved with the HR collimators for Tc-99m. The NanoSPECT-NSO achieved this resolution in a smaller field-of-view (FOV) and line source measurements showed that this device had a lower axial than transaxial resolution. For all systems, the degradation in image resolution was only minor when acquiring the more challenging isotopes In-111 and I-125. The point source sensitivity with Tc-99m and GP collimators was 3,984 cps/MBq for the U-SPECT-II, 620 cps/MBq for the X-SPECT and 751 cps/MBq for the NanoSPECT-NSO. The effects of volume sensitivity over a larger object were evaluated by measuring the contrast recovery phantom in a realistic FOV and acquisition time. For 1.5-mm rods at a noise level of 8 %, the contrast recovery coefficient (CRC) was 42 %, 37 % and 34 % for the U-SPECT-II, X-SPECT and NanoSPECT-NSO, respectively. At maximal noise levels of 10 %, a CRCcold of 70 %, 52 % and 42 % were obtained for the U-SPECT-II, X-SPECT and NanoSPECT-NSO, respectively. When acquiring Tc-99m with the GP collimators, the integral/differential uniformity values were 30 %/14 % for the U-SPECT-II, 50 %/30 % for the X-SPECT and 38 %/25 % for the NanoSPECT-NSO. When using the HR collimators, these uniformity values remained similar for U-SPECT-II and X-SPECT, but not for the NanoSPECT-NSO for which the uniformity deteriorated with larger volumes. We compared three mu SPECT systems by acquiring and analysing mouse-sized phantoms including a contrast recovery phantom built in-house offering the ability to measure the hot contrast on a warm background in the submillimetre resolution range. We believe our evaluation addressed the differences in imaging potential for each system to realistically image tracer distributions in mouse-sized objects.