A stereotactic method for the three-dimensional registration of multi-modality biologic images in animals: NMR, PET, histology, and autoradiography

J. L. Humm, D. Ballon, Y. C. Hu, S. Ruan, C. Chui, P. K. Tulipano, A. Erdi, J. Koutcher, K. Zakian, M. Urano, P. Zanzonico, C. Mattis, J. Dyke, Y. Chen, P. Harrington, J. A. O'Donoghue, C. C. Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The objective of this work was to develop and then validate a stereotactic fiduciary marker system for tumor xenografts in rodents which could be used to co-register magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), PET, tissue histology, autoradiography, and measurements from physiologic probes. A Teflon™ fiduciary template has been designed which allows the precise insertion of small hollow Teflon rods (0.71 mm diameter) into a tumor. These rods can be visualized by MRI and PET as well as by histology and autoradiography on tissue sections. The methodology has been applied and tested on a rigid phantom, on tissue phantom material, and finally on tumor bearing mice. Image registration has been performed between the MRI and PET images for the rigid Teflon phantom and among MRI, digitized microscopy images of tissue histology, and autoradiograms for both tissue phantom and tumor-bearing mice. A registration accuracy, expressed as the average Euclidean distance between the centers of three fiduciary markers among the registered image sets, of 0.2 ± 0.06 mm was achieved between MRI and microPET image sets of a rigid Teflon phantom. The fiduciary template allows digitized tissue sections to be co-registered with three-dimensional MRI images with an average accuracy of 0.21 and 0.25 mm for the tissue phantoms and tumor xenografts, respectively. Between histology and autoradiograms, it was 0.19 and 0.21 mm for tissue phantoms and tumor xenografts, respectively. The fiduciary marker system provides a coordinate system with which to correlate information from multiple image types, on a voxel-by-voxel basis, with sub-millimeter accuracy-even among imaging modalities with widely disparate spatial resolution and in the absence of identifiable anatomic landmarks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2303-2314
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


  • Fiduciary markers
  • Image registration
  • Rodent imaging


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