EXIRAD-3D: Fast automated three-dimensional autoradiography

Minh Phuong Nguyen*, Ruud M. Ramakers, Chris Kamphuis, Sofia Koustoulidou, Marlies C. Goorden, Freek J. Beekman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Autoradiography is an established technique for high-resolution imaging of radiolabelled molecules in biological tissue slices. Unfortunately, creating a 3D image from a set of these 2D images is extremely time-consuming and error-prone. MicroSPECT systems provide such 3D images but have a low resolution. Here we present EXIRAD-3D, a fast automated method as an alternative for 3D autoradiography from coupes based on ultra-high resolution microSPECT technology. Methods: EXIRAD-3D uses a very small bore focusing multi-pinhole collimator mounted in a SPECT system with stationary detectors (U-SPECT/CT, MILabs B.V. The Netherlands) using a sample holder with integrated tissue cooling to avoid activity leaking or tissue deformation during the scan. The system performance was experimentally evaluated using various phantoms and tissue samples of animals in vivo injected with technetium-99m and iodine-123. Results: The reconstructed spatial resolution obtained with a Derenzo hot rod phantom was 120 μm (or 1.7 nl). The voxel values of a syringe phantom image appear to be uniform and scale linearly with activity. Uptake in tiny details of the mouse knee joint, thyroid, and kidney could be clearly visualized. Conclusion: EXIRAD-3D opens up the possibility for fast and quantitative 3D imaging of radiolabelled molecules at a resolution far better than in vivo microSPECT and saves tremendous amounts of work compared to obtaining 3D data from a set of 2D autoradiographs. Advances in knowledge and implications for patient care: EXIRAD-3D offers superior image resolution over microSPECT, and it can be a very efficient alternative for autoradiography in pharmaceutical and biological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Autoradiography
  • Ex vivo
  • Molecular imaging
  • Pinhole


Dive into the research topics of 'EXIRAD-3D: Fast automated three-dimensional autoradiography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this