Gamma ray imaging visualizes bio-metals and molecules simultaneously
10 May 2013
Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Life Science
Technologies in Japan have developed a new molecular imaging
technology that can visualize bio-metals and bio-molecules
simultaneously in a live mouse.
They have developed a gamma-ray imaging camera that can detect
the gamma-rays emitted by multiple bio-metal elements in the body
and study their behaviour.
Metal elements such as zinc, iron and copper are present in trace
amounts in the body and play an important role in many biological
processes including gene expression, signal transduction and
metabolic reactions. Abnormalities in the behaviour of these
elements often reflect abnormalities in associated bio-molecules and
studying them together can offer great insight into many biological
Bio-molecules can be visualized in living organisms using
positron emission tomography (PET), a widely used nuclear medicine
molecular-imaging technique. Their second prototype of the system,
called GREI–II and presented in the Journal of Analytical Atomic
Spectrometry, visualizes multiple bio-metal elements more than 10
times faster than before, and to do so simultaneously with positron
emission tomography (PET).
In the study, the researchers were able to visualise two
radioactive agents injected in a tumour-bearing mouse, as well as an
anti-tumour antibody labelled with a PET molecular probe agent,
simultaneously in the live mouse.
This new technology is expected to offer new insights into the
relationships between bio-metal elements and associated
bio-molecules, and the roles they play in diseases such as diabetes
Shinji Motomura et al. Improved imaging performance of
semiconductor Compton camera GREI makes for a new methodology to
integrate bio-metal analysis and molecular imaging technology in
living organisms. JAAS 2013 DOI:10.1039/C3JA30185K