X-Ray, Positron Emission, and Single Photon Emission Tomographic Bioimaging

  • Katherine A. Estes
  • Jacob C. Peterson
  • Adam M. Szlachetka
  • R. Lee MosleyEmail author
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Computer-aided tomography is commonly used for biomedical imaging in medicine and research. Most systems utilize some form of energized probe to either visualize tissues and/or localize a labeled compound. Common to all forms of tomographic imaging is the acquisition of cross-sectional images in a 360° rotation. Computer-interfaced software is used to reconstruct two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional representation. This allows selected two-dimensional images to be analyzed in any axis. In computed tomography (CT), also called computer-aided tomography or computerized axial tomography, X-rays produced by a cathode ray tube provide an external source of radiation that passes through the subject and are collected by a detector array. Density variations of different organs, tissues, and structures allow different amounts of radiation to penetrate and reach the detector to create an anatomical image.

In emission computed tomography, radionuclide probes are administered to the subject and provide an internal source of radiation. Positron emission tomography (PET) is used to detect radionuclides that emit positrons (β+ particles), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) detects radionuclides that emit gamma (γ) rays. The radionuclide probes are conjugated to diagnostic or therapeutic agents that ultimately target specific tissues. CT used in conjunction with PET or SPECT generate images that are co-registered, resulting in merged images wherein anatomical regions of interest can be defined and analyzed to detect the location and intensity of radionuclide probes. Such methods are used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes as well as to monitor disease progression.


Bioimaging Emission computed tomography CT PET SPECT Tomography Radioisotopes Digital image reconstruction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine A. Estes
    • 1
  • Jacob C. Peterson
    • 1
  • Adam M. Szlachetka
    • 1
  • R. Lee Mosley
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, Center for Neurodegenerative DisordersUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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