Grating-based X-ray Dark-field Computed Tomography of Living Mice

A. Velroyen, A. Yaroshenko, D. Hahn, A. Fehringer, A. Tapfer, M. Müller, P. B. Noël, B. Pauwels, A. Sasov, A. Yildirim, O. Eickelberg, K. Hellbach, S. D. Auweter, F. G. Meinel, M. F. Reiser, M. Bech, F. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Changes in x-ray attenuating tissue caused by lung disorders like emphysema or fibrosis are subtle and thus only resolved by high-resolution computed tomography (CT). The structural reorganization, however, is of strong influence for lung function. Dark-field CT (DFCT), based on small-angle scattering of x-rays, reveals such structural changes even at resolutions coarser than the pulmonary network and thus provides access to their anatomical distribution. In this proof-of-concept study we present x-ray in vivo DFCTs of lungs of a healthy, an emphysematous and a fibrotic mouse. The tomographies show excellent depiction of the distribution of structural - and thus indirectly functional - changes in lung parenchyma, on single-modality slices in dark field as well as on multimodal fusion images. Therefore, we anticipate numerous applications of DFCT in diagnostic lung imaging. We introduce a scatter-based Hounsfield Unit (sHU) scale to facilitate comparability of scans. In this newly defined sHU scale, the pathophysiological changes by emphysema and fibrosis cause a shift towards lower numbers, compared to healthy lung tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1506
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Dark-field computed tomography
  • Dark-field imaging
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • X-ray phase-contrast imaging


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