Radiation measurement physics
Application of the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) technique for mouse dosimetry in micro-CT imaging
Micro-CT is considered to be a powerful tool to investigate various models of disease on anesthetized animals. In longitudinal studies, the radiation dose delivered by the micro-CT to the same animal is a major concern as it could potentially induce spurious effects in experimental results. Optically stimulated luminescence dosimeters (OSLDs) are a relatively new kind of detector used in radiation dosimetry for medical applications. The aim of this work was to assess the dose delivered by the CT component of a micro-SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography)/CT camera during a typical whole-body mouse study, using commercially available OSLDs based on Al2O3:C crystals.
CTDI (computed tomography dose index) was measured in micro-CT with a properly calibrated pencil ionization chamber using a rat-like phantom (60 mm in diameter) and a mouse-like phantom (30 mm in diameter). OSLDs were checked for reproducibility and linearity in the range of doses delivered by the micro-CT. Dose measurements obtained with OSLDs were compared to those of the ionization chamber to correct for the radiation quality dependence of OSLDs in the low-kV range. Doses to tissue were then investigated in phantoms and cadavers. A 30 mm diameter phantom, specifically designed to insert OSLDs, was used to assess radiation dose over a typical whole-body mouse imaging study. Eighteen healthy female BALB/c mice weighing 27.1 ± 0.8 g (1 SD) were euthanized for small animal measurements. OLSDs were placed externally or implanted internally in nine different locations by an experienced animal technician. Five commonly used micro-CT protocols were investigated.
CTDI measurements were between 78.0 ± 2.1 and 110.7 ± 3.0 mGy for the rat-like phantom and between 169.3 ± 4.6 and 203.6 ± 5.5 mGy for the mouse-like phantom. On average, the displayed CTDI at the operator console was underestimated by 1.19 for the rat-like phantom and 2.36 for the mouse-like phantom. OSLDs exhibited a reproducibility of 2.4% and good linearity was found between 60 and 450 mGy. The energy scaling factor was calculated to be between 1.80 ± 0.16 and 1.86 ± 0.16, depending on protocol used. In phantoms, mean doses to tissue over a whole-body CT examination were ranging from 186.4 ± 7.6 to 234.9 ± 7.1 mGy. In mice, mean doses to tissue in the mouse trunk (thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and flanks) were between 213.0 ± 17.0 and 251.2 ± 13.4 mGy. Skin doses (3 OSLDs) were much higher with average doses between 350.6 ± 25.3 and 432.5 ± 34.1 mGy. The dose delivered during a topogram was found to be below 10 mGy. Use of the multimouse bed of the system gave a significantly 20%–40% lower dose per animal (p < 0.05).
Absorbed doses in micro-CT were found to be relatively high. In micro-SPECT/CT imaging, the micro-CT unit is mainly used to produce a localization frame. As a result, users should pay attention to adjustable CT parameters so as to minimize the radiation dose and avoid any adverse radiation effects which may interfere with biological parameters studied.