MRI and PET compatible bed for direct co-registration in small animals

Antonietta Bartoli, Giovanna Esposito, Luca D'Angeli, Linda Chaabane, Enzo Terreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To obtain an accurate co-registration with stand-alone PET and MRI scanners, we developed a compatible bed system for mice and rats that enables both images to be acquired without repositioning the animals. MRI acquisitions were performed on a preclinical 7T scanner (Pharmascan, Bruker), whereas PET scans were acquired on a YAP-(S)PET (ISE s.r.l.). The bed performance was tested both on a phantom (NEMA Image Quality phantom) and in vivo (healthy rats and mice brain). Fiducial markers filled up with a drop of 18 F were visible in both modalities. Co-registration process was performed using the point-based registration technique. The reproducibility and accuracy of the co-registration were assessed using the phantom. The reproducibility of the translation distances was 0.2 mm along the z axis. On the other hand, the accuracy depended on the physical size of the phantom structures under investigation but was always lower than 4%. Regions of Interest (ROIs) drawn on the fused images were used for quantification purposes. PET and MRI intensity profiles on small structures of the phantom showed that the underestimation in activity concentration reached 90% in regions that were smaller than the PET spatial resolution, while the MRI allowed a good visualization of the 1 mm 0 rod. PET/MRI images of healthy mice and rats highlighted the expected superior capability of MRI to define brain structures. The simplicity of our developed MRI/PET compatible bed and the quality of the fused images obtained offers a promising opportunity for a future preclinical translation, particularly for neuroimaging studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6524032
Pages (from-to)1596-1602
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Fiducial marker
  • point-based registration
  • small animal imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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