Developing high-frequency ultrasound tomography for testicular tumor imaging in rats: An in vitro study




This paper describes a feasibility study for developing a 35-MHz high-frequency ultrasound computed-tomography (HFUCT) system for imaging rat testicles.


The performances of two kinds of HFUCT-attenuation and sound-speed UCT-based on transmission and pulse-echo modes were investigated in this study. Experiments were carried out using phantoms and actual rat testiclesin vitro. HFUCT images were reconstructed using a filtered backprojection algorithm.


The phantom experimental results indicated that all types of HFUCT can determine the dimensions of a plastic cylinder with a diameter of 500μm. Compared to sound-speed HFUCT, attenuation HFUCT exhibited a better performance in recognizing a tiny sclerosed region in a gelatin phantom. Therefore, the in vitro testicular experiments were performed using attenuation HFUCT based on transmission and pulse-echo modes. The experimentally measured attenuation coefficient and sound speed for healthy rat testicles were 2.92 ± 0.25 dB/mm and 1537 ± 25 m/s, respectively.


A homogeneous texture was evident for healthy testicles using both modes. An artificial sclerosed tumor could also be clearly observed using two- and three-dimensional attenuation HFUCT in both modes. However, an object artifact was apparent in pulse-echo mode because of ultrasound beam refraction. All of the obtained experimental results indicate the potential of using HFUCT as a novel tool for monitoring the preclinical responses of testicular tumors in small animals.