Animal imaging provides an important link between microscopy and human imaging. The available imaging techniques (MRI, SPECT/CT) allow animal experiments that are comparable to studies performed on humans. In addition, animal experiments permit the combination with invasive methods in-vivo. Thus, "molecular imaging" allows to draw conclusions from physiological processes on the molecular level. The combination with pharmacological and electrophysiological methods is particularly revealing with respect to mechanistic explanations of neuronal processes.
The Combinatorial NeuroImaging core facility provides open access to a 4.7 Tesla magnet and a SPECT/CT system for small animal imaging.
Since 2010 the LIN has been operating an animal SPECT/CT scanner from the Göttingen-based company SCIVIS.
"Single photon emission computed tomography" (SPECT) allows direct insights into metabolic brain processes in-vivo. Here, tiny amounts of radioactive substances, so called radio pharmaceutics or radio tracers, are injected. Their distribution is then measured using a highly sensitive tomograph, which generates a three-dimensional image.
This method is especially suitable for examining metabolic processes, receptor distribution or blood flow and brain activity patterns.
4.7 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Animal MRI)
The 4.7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging system from the Bruker company has been in use since 2004. It is especially suitable for basic anatomical characterization of brain structures of small animals. For this purpose a wide range of coil technologies as well as anesthesia, stereotaxic and monitoring systems are available.
9.4 Tesla Small-Animal Magnetic Resonance Scanner
Currently, the LIN establishes an ultra-high field magnetic resonance scanner (Bruker BioSpec 94/20 UHF). This scanner is equipped with a cryocoil for high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), providing an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, and with various RF-coils suited for combining MRI techniques (anatomy, functional MRI, spectroscopy, diffusion- and perfusion weighted imaging) with optogenetic, electrophysiological, pharmacological, and similar techniques in rodents.