Three-dimensional imaging of vasculature and parenchyma in intact rodent organs with X-ray micro-CT

Steven M. Jorgensen, Omer Demirkaya, Erik L. Ritman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) scanner, which generates three-dimensional (3-D) images consisting of up to a billion cubic voxels, each 5-25 μm on a side, and which has isotropic spatial resolution, is described. Its main components are a spectroscopic X-ray source that produces selectable primary emission peaks at ∼9, 18, or 25 keV and a fluorescing thin crystal plate that is imaged (at selectable magnification) with a lens onto a 2.5 X 2.5-cm, 1,024 X 1,024-pixel, charge-coupled device (CCD) detector array. The specimen is positioned close to the crystal and is rotated in 721 equiangular steps around 360° between each X-ray exposure and its CCD recording. Tomographic reconstruction algorithms, applied to these recorded images, are used to generate 3-D images of the specimen. The system is used to scan isolated, intact, fixed rodent organs (e.g., heart or kidney) with the image contrast of vessel lumens enhanced with contrast medium. 3-D image display and analysis are used to address physiological questions about the internal structure-to-function relationships of the organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998


  • Basic functional unit
  • Branching geometry
  • Microcomputed tomography
  • Microvasculature
  • Muscle fiber
  • Nephron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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