European Radiology

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 1789–1796 | Cite as

Development and validation of an intrinsic landmark-based gating protocol applicable for functional and molecular ultrasound imaging

  • Christoph Grouls
  • Max Hatting
  • Isabelle Tardy
  • Jessica Bzyl
  • Georg Mühlenbruch
  • Florian F. Behrendt
  • Tobias Penzkofer
  • Christian Trautwein
  • Christiane Kuhl
  • Fabian Kiessling
  • Moritz Palmowski
Molecular Imaging



To implement a retrospective intrinsic landmark-based (ILB) gating protocol for contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and to compare its efficiency to non-gated, manually gated and extrinsically gated CEUS.


CEUS of the liver was performed in healthy mice (n = 5) and in NEMO knockout mice with dysplastic livers (n = 5). In healthy animals, first-pass kinetics of non-specific microbubbles was recorded. Knockout mice were analysed regarding retention of VEGFR2-specific microbubbles. For retrospective gating, a landmark which showed respiratory movement was encircled as a region of interest (ROI). During inspiration, the signal intensity within the ROI altered, which served as gating signal. To evaluate the accuracy, non-gated, extrinsically gated and ILB-gated time-intensity curves were created. For each curve, descriptive parameters were calculated and compared to the gold standard (manual frame-by-frame gating).


No significant differences in the variation of ILB- and extrinsically gated time-intensity curves from the gold standard were observed. Non-gated data showed significantly higher variations. Also the variation of molecular ultrasound data was significantly lower for ILB-gated compared to non-gated data.


ILB gating is a robust and easy method to improve data accuracy in functional and molecular ultrasound liver imaging. This technique can presumably be translated to contrast-enhanced ultrasound examinations in humans.

Key Points

Quantitative analysis of the uptake of contrast agents during ultrasound is complex.

Intrinsic landmark-based gating (ILB) offers a simple implementable method for motion correction.

Results using ILB-gating are comparable to extrinsic gating using external biomonitoring devices.

Functional and molecular imaging of mobile organs will benefit from ILB gating.


Gating Ultrasound Contrast enhanced Functional imaging Molecular imaging 



Region of interest


Contrast-enhanced ultrasound


Intrinsic landmark-based gating


Area under the curve


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor type 2



This work was supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), project “Virtual Liver Consortium”, number 0315743 and by the German Research Foundation (DFG) SFB TRR57.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Grouls
    • 1
    • 2
  • Max Hatting
    • 3
  • Isabelle Tardy
    • 4
  • Jessica Bzyl
    • 1
  • Georg Mühlenbruch
    • 5
  • Florian F. Behrendt
    • 6
  • Tobias Penzkofer
    • 2
  • Christian Trautwein
    • 3
  • Christiane Kuhl
    • 2
  • Fabian Kiessling
    • 1
  • Moritz Palmowski
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Molecular ImagingRWTH-Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyRWTH-Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.Medical Clinic II, University HospitalRWTH-Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  4. 4.Bracco Suisse SAGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional NeuroradiologyRWTH-Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  6. 6.Department of Nuclear MedicineRWTH-Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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