Journal article Open Access

State of the art in vivo imaging techniques for laboratory animals.

Lauber, David T; Fülöp, András; Kovács, Tibor; Szigeti, Krisztián; Máthé, Domokos; Szijártó, Attila


In recent decades, imaging devices have become indispensable tools in the basic sciences, in preclinical research and in modern drug development. The rapidly evolving high-resolution in vivo imaging technologies provide a unique opportunity for studying biological processes of living organisms in real time on a molecular level. State of the art small-animal imaging modalities provide non-invasive images rich in quantitative anatomical and functional information, which renders longitudinal studies possible allowing precise monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy in models of different diseases. The number of animals in a scientific investigation can be substantially reduced using imaging techniques, which is in full compliance with the ethical endeavours for the 3R (reduction, refinement, replacement) policies formulated by Russell and Burch; furthermore, biological variability can be alleviated, as each animal serves as its own control. The most suitable and commonly used imaging modalities for in vivo small-animal imaging are optical imaging (OI), ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and finally the methods of nuclear medicine: positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).

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