Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Lung structure and function studied by synchrotron radiation

Liisa Porra

Doctoral dissertation, April 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Sciences, Division of X-ray Physics and Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine.

A novel method for functional lung imaging was introduced by adapting the K-edge subtraction method (KES) to in vivo studies of small animals. In this method two synchrotron radiation energies, which bracket the K-edge of the contrast agent, are used for simultaneous recording of absorption-contrast images. Stable xenon gas is used as the contrast agent, and imaging is performed in projection or computed tomography (CT) mode. Subtraction of the two images yields the distribution of xenon, while removing practically all features due to other structures, and the xenon density can be calculated quantitatively. Because the images are recorded simultaneously, there are no movement artifacts in the subtraction image. Time resolution for a series of CT images is one image/s, which allows functional studies. Voxel size is 0.1mm3, which is an order better than in traditional lung imaging methods.

KES imaging technique was used in studies of ventilation distribution and the effects of histamine-induced airway narrowing in healthy, mechanically ventilated, and anaesthetized rabbits. First, the effect of tidal volume on ventilation was studied, and the results show that an increase in tidal volume without an increase in minute ventilation results a proportional increase in regional ventilation. Second, spiral CT was used to quantify the airspace volumes in lungs in normal conditions and after histamine aerosol inhalation, and the results showed large patchy filling defects in peripheral lungs following histamine provocation. Third, the kinetics of proximal and distal airway response to histamine aerosol were examined, and the findings show that the distal airways react immediately to histamine and start to recover, while the reaction and the recovery in proximal airways is slower. Fourth, the fractal dimensions of lungs was studied, and it was found that the fractal dimension is higher at the apical part of the lungs compared to the basal part, indicating structural differences between apical and basal lung level.

These results provide new insights to lung function and the effects of drug challenge studies. Nowadays the technique is available at synchrotron radiation facilities, but the compact synchrotron radiation sources are being developed, and in relatively near future the method may be used at hospitals.

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Last updated 04.04.2006

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