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Multimodality Rodent Imaging Chambers for Use Under Barrier Conditions with Gas Anesthesia



The ability to reproducibly and repeatedly image rodents in noninvasive imaging systems, such as small-animal positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT), requires a reliable method for anesthetizing, positioning, and heating animals in a simple reproducible manner. In this paper, we demonstrate that mice and rats can be reproducibly and repeatedly imaged using an imaging chamber designed to be rigidly mounted on multiple imaging systems.


Mouse and rat imaging chambers were made of acrylic plastic and aluminum. MicroCT scans were used to evaluate the positioning reproducibility of the chambers in multimodality and longitudinal imaging studies. The ability of the chambers to maintain mouse and rat body temperatures while anesthetized with gas anesthesia was also evaluated.


Both the mouse and rat imaging chambers were able to reproducibly position the animals in the imaging systems with a small degree of error. Placement of the mouse in the mouse imaging chamber resulted in a mean distance of 0.23 mm per reference point in multimodality studies, whereas for longitudinal studies the mean difference was 1.11 mm. The rat chamber resulted in a mean difference of 0.46 mm in multimodality studies and a mean difference of 4.31 mm in longitudinal studies per reference point. The chambers maintained rodent body temperatures at the set point temperature of 38°C.


The rodent imaging chambers were able to reproducibly position rodents in tomographs with a small degree of variability and were compatible with routine use. The embedded anesthetic line and heating system was capable of maintaining the rodent’s temperature and anesthetic state, thereby enhancing rodent health and improving data collection reliability.

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We wish to thank the Crump Imaging Center Staff for their support; Waldemar Ladno, Judy Edwards, and Antonia Lu; Jim Houts of Summit Anesthesia Solutions; Dennis Corey; Marcelo Couto and Tim Lawson of UCLA Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine; and Andy Gustillo and Steve Grubweiser of the UCLA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Support for this project was provided by the Biological and Environmental Research Division of the Department of Energy (DOE) #FC03-02ERG3420; the National Cancer Institute (NCI) #R25 CA098010:01; the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (NIH ICMIC) #R01 EB001943; the Small Animal Imaging Resource Program (SAIRP) #R24 CA92865; the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center UCLA; and the NCI SPORE in Prostate Cancer.

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Correspondence to Chris Suckow or David Stout.

Additional information

All work was completed at UCLA.

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Suckow, C., Kuntner, C., Chow, P. et al. Multimodality Rodent Imaging Chambers for Use Under Barrier Conditions with Gas Anesthesia. Mol Imaging Biol 11, 100–106 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11307-008-0165-0

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Key words

  • Rodent imaging chamber
  • Multimodality imaging
  • Reproducible rodent imaging
  • Immunocompromised imaging
  • Gas anesthesia