Synchrotron radiation microimaging in rabbit models of cancer for preclinical testing
ABSTRACT Preclinical laboratory animal imaging modalities such as microangiography and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) have been developed at the SPring-8 BL20B2 bending magnet beamline. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the usefulness of microangiography systems for physiological examinations of live animals and micro-CT systems for postmortem morphological examinations. Synchrotron radiation microangiography and micro-CT with contrast agents present the main advantageous capability of depicting the anatomy of small blood vessels with tens of micrometers’ diameter. This paper reports two imaging instrument types and their respective applications to preclinical imaging of tumor angiogenic blood vessels in tumor-bearing rabbits, where tumor angiogenesis is characterized morphologically by an increased number of blood vessels. A microangiography system with spatial resolution around 10 μm has been used for therapeutically evaluating angiogenic vessels in a rabbit model of cancer for evaluating embolization materials in transcatheter arterial embolization and for radiation therapy. After an iodine contrast agent was injected into an artery, in vivo imaging was carried out using a high-resolution real-time detector incorporating an X-ray direct-conversion-type SATICON pickup tube. On the other hand, a micro-CT system capably performed three-dimensional visualization of tumor angiogenic blood vessels using tumor-transplanted rabbit specimens with a barium sulfate contrast agent injected into the blood vessels. For specimen imaging, a large-field high-resolution micro-CT system based on a 10-megapixel CCD camera was developed to study tumor-associated alterations in angioarchitecture. Evidence of increased vascularity by tumor angiogenesis and decreased vascularity by tumor treatments was achieved by physiological evaluation of angiogenic small blood vessels in microangiographic imaging and by morphological assessment in micro-CT imaging. These results demonstrate the accuracy and usefulness of microangiography and micro-CT systems for quantitative examination of animals’ angioarchitecture, respectively, during live and postmortem examinations.