Non-invasive photoacoustic computed tomography of rat heart anatomy and function

Author(s): Xin TongLi LinPeng HuRui CaoYang ZhangJoshua Olick-GibsonLihong V. Wang


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver disorder worldwide, which strongly correlates to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. Complementary to mainstream liver diagnostic modalities, photoacoustic tomography (PAT) can provide high-speed images with functional optical contrast. However, PAT has not been demonstrated to study fatty liver anatomy with clear volumetric vasculatures. The livers of multiple rats are non-invasively imaged in vivo using the recently developed 3D PAT platform. The system provides isotropically high spatial resolution in 3D space, presenting clear angiographic structures of rat livers without injecting contrast agents. Furthermore, to quantitatively analyze the difference between the livers of lean and obese rats, the authors measured several PAT features and statistical differences between the two groups are observed. In addition to the anatomy, a time-gated strategy is applied to correct respiration-induced motion artifacts and extracted the hemodynamics of major blood vessels during the breathing cycles. This study demonstrates the capabilities of 3D-PAT to reveal both angiographic anatomy and function in rat livers, providing hematogenous information for fatty liver diagnosis. 3D-PAT, as a new tool for preclinical research, warrants further improvements to be transferred to human pediatric liver imaging.