School of Biomedical Engineering, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
The current imaging methods have a limited ability to visualize microstructures of biological soft tissues. Small lesions cannot be detected at the early stage of the disease. Phase contrast imaging (PCI) is a novel non-invasive imaging technique that can provide high contrast images of soft tissues by the use of X-ray phase shift. It is a new choice in terms of non-invasively revealing soft tissue details. In this study, the lung and hepatic fibrosis models of mice and rats were used to investigate the ability of PCI in microstructures observation of soft tissues. Our results demonstrated that different liver fibrosis stages could be distinguished non-invasively by PCI. The three-dimensional morphology of a segment of blood vessel was constructed. Noteworthy, the blood clot inside the vessel was visualized in three dimensions which provided a precise description of vessel stenosis. Furthermore, the whole lung airways including the alveoli were obtained. We had specifically highlighted its use in the visualization and assessment of the alveoli. To our knowledge, this was the first time for non-invasive alveoli imaging using PCI. This finding may offer a new perspective on the diagnosis of respiratory disease. All the results confirmed that PCI will be a valuable tool in biological soft tissues imaging.
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