Nat Med. 2008 Apr;14(4):459-65 doi: 10.1038/nm1700. 2008 Mar 23.

Simultaneous PET-MRI: a new approach for functional and morphological imaging

Judenhofer MS, Wehrl HF, Newport DF, Catana C, Siegel SB, Becker M, Thielscher A, Kneilling M, Lichy MP, Eichner M, Klingel K, Reischl G, Widmaier S, Röcken M, Nutt RE, Machulla HJ, Uludag K, Cherry SR, Claussen CD, Pichler BJ.


Noninvasive imaging at the molecular level is an emerging field in biomedical research. This paper introduces a new technology synergizing two leading imaging methodologies: positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Although the value of PET lies in its high-sensitivity tracking of biomarkers in vivo, it lacks resolving morphology. MRI has lower sensitivity, but produces high soft-tissue contrast and provides spectroscopic information and functional MRI (fMRI). We have developed a three-dimensional animal PET scanner that is built into a 7-T MRI. Our evaluations show that both modalities preserve their functionality, even when operated isochronously. With this combined imaging system, we simultaneously acquired functional and morphological PET-MRI data from living mice. PET-MRI provides a powerful tool for studying biology and pathology in preclinical research and has great potential for clinical applications. Combining fMRI and spectroscopy with PET paves the way for a new perspective in molecular imaging.

PMID: 18376410