Influence of Animal Handling and Housing on Multimodality Imaging
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Development of small-animal imaging systems for functional and anatomical measurements resulted in a fundamental shift toward smaller animals being used for medical research. Rodents, in particular rats and mice, have become the most commonly used species due in part to their low cost, ability to image large numbers quickly, and ease of handling. This had led to the development of support devices such as imaging chambers and specialized anesthesia systems. These imaging chambers provide physiological and physical support for imaging animals, which in turn facilitates imaging animals multiple times and in multiple imaging systems. The ability to reproducibly position animals greatly aids in image analysis, making it easier to co-register and fuse images, draw and reuse regions of interest across studies, and create uniformly positioned images for presentation.
The focus of this chapter is on imaging chambers and the physiological variations that can occur due to variations in handling and housing conditions and how these factors impact image fusion and analysis. The ideal conditions are dependent on the experimental design requirements for each particular research investigation; thus it is essential to have a range of conditions suitable for imaging research. Well-defined and followed protocols are important for any scientific research project; however the appropriate animal model, housing, and handling conditions vary, and no one set of conditions can be applied to all animal research.
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