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Custom Built Systems

LaTheta™ in-vivo Micro-CT scanners for small animals

LaTheta LCT-200™ Scanner
LaTheta Micro-CT Scanner LCT-200

Designed for small animals and intended especially for the in-vivo and ex-vivo animal research, the LaTheta™ CT scanner possesses several distinctive features. For example, its extremely sensitive detector allows working with low energy x-ray source, making possible longitudinal studies. Very fast scanning and reconstruction times of its detector allow seeing the result during the acquisition, aborting, and changing the parameters, after the first slice is displayed. In addition, high contrast and low noise level provide a good resolution of tissues with similar density, such as visceral organs.

Furthermore, LaTheta™ accommodates a wide range of animals, thus allowing rats up to 1.5 kg to be scanned. Its quantification of the scanned images implemented in the software includes visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat volume, BMD, mechanical strength and morphology with automatic cortical/trabecular bone recognition, etc. The LaTheta software is very easy to operate and does not require special training. Finally, LaTheta™ is compact and portable. Combined with the very low outside radiation of LaTheta™, these features allow using this instrument in any room.

LaTheta LCT-200 page on Hitachi Aloka Medical Ltd website

Product Specifications for LaTheta LCT-200A™ (Resolution 24 microns, Detection system 3D)

LaTheta™ application examples

Images of a guinea pig taken by LaTheta™
Images of a guinea pig taken by LaTheta
Click on the picture for a larger image.

Visceral versus subcutaneous fat measurement

One of the most commonly used analysis functions implemented in the LaTheta software is an automated separation of adipose tissues into visceral and subcutaneous parts. Built-in within the software image processing algorithms perform recognition of the adipose tissue types, which allows operating them as two separate entities. After recognition, the software starts tissue parameters calculation yielding values for size, CT-number, and standard deviation. The results representation is similar to the fat ratio measurements where tissue parameters are calculated for lean and adipose tissues; however, in this case adipose part is divided into visceral and subcutaneous fats.

Fatty liver characterization

To diagnose a fatty liver, researchers need to measure the liver fat content. One of the adopted procedures is to compare CT-number of spleen, which is considered to be pure lean, with the CT-number of liver. In most cases, liver fatness is homogeneous throughout the whole liver, meaning that a single slice scan is sufficient for the liver CT-number extraction. The LaTheta™ instrument allows performing scans containing multiple slices as well as a single slice. Additionally, when measuring a single slice, the radiation exposure is limited to the area of that slice. The liver is diagnosed fatty if its CT-number is considerably lower than the spleen CT-number. In lean animals, liver can contain up to 10% fat, while in the obese ones, liver fatness can reach 30-40%.

Brown fat and white fat differentiation

In general, it is hard to distinguish between BAT (Brown Adipose Tissue) and WAT (White Adipose Tissue) in the CT image due to very high image noise on the CT scan images. Moreover, BAT and WAT have very similar attenuation coefficients at standard operating energies which leads to close CT-number values. Thanks to its advanced x-ray detector, LaTheta™ can perform scans with extremely low image noise so that these scans become suitable for BAT versus WAT automatic recognition. After different fats have been recognized, the LaTheta software calculates all tissue parameters separately.

Scan of several isolated bones taken by LaTheta™
Scan of isolated bones taken by LaTheta

Bone measurements

The LaTheta™ scanner provides the capabilities of various bone characterization analyses. Among them are Bone Mineral Density (BMD), morphometry, mechanical strength, etc. The software applies automatic bone type recognition between the cortical and trabecular areas with the following calculation of the parameters. This procedure makes bone measurements fast and easy task, especially when researchers have to deal with hundreds of bones at a time.

Furthermore, multiple regions of interest can be analyzed simultaneously. For example, in-vivo scan can be analyzed yielding the parameters of several different bones at a time, or extirpated bones can be measured faster if they are stacked in the same slice.

Publications by LaTheta™ Users