Multimodality scanners that allow the acquisition of both functional and structural image sets on a single system have recently become available for animal research use. Although the resultant registered functional/structural image sets can greatly enhance the interpretability of the functional data, the cost of multimodality systems can be prohibitive, and they are often limited to two modalities, which generally do not include magnetic resonance imaging. Using a thin plastic wrap to immobilize and fix a mouse or other small animal atop a removable bed, we are able to calculate registrations between all combinations of four different small animal imaging scanners (positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance, and computed tomography [CT]) at our disposal, effectively equivalent to a quadruple-modality scanner. A comparison of serially acquired CT images, with intervening acquisitions on other scanners, demonstrates the ability of the proposed procedures to maintain the rigidity of an anesthetized mouse during transport between scanners. Movement of the bony structures of the mouse was estimated to be 0.62 mm. Soft tissue movement was predominantly the result of the filling (or emptying) of the urinary bladder and thus largely constrained to this region. Phantom studies estimate the registration errors for all registration types to be less than 0.5 mm. Functional images using tracers targeted to known structures verify the accuracy of the functional to structural registrations. The procedures are easy to perform and produce robust and accurate results that rival those of dedicated multimodality scanners, but with more flexible registration combinations and while avoiding the expense and redundancy of multimodality systems.
Beattie, B. J., Förster, G. J., Gavantes, R., Le, C. H., Longo, V. A., Zanzonico, P. B., Bidaut, L., Blasberg, R. G., & Koutcher, J. A. (2007). Multimodality registration without a dedicated multimodality scanner. Molecular Imaging, 6(2), 108-120. https://doi.org/10.2310/7290.2007.00008