Preclinical anatomical, molecular, and functional imaging of the lung with multiple modalities

Seth T. Gammon, Nathan Foje, Elizabeth M. Brewer, Elizabeth Owers, Charles A. Downs, Matthew D. Budde, W. Matthew Leevy, My N. Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In vivo imaging is an important tool for preclinical studies of lung function and disease. The widespread availability of multimodal animal imaging systems and the rapid rate of diagnostic contrast agent development have empowered researchers to noninvasively study lung function and pulmonary disorders. Investigators can identify, track, and quantify biological processes over time. In this review, we highlight the fundamental principles of bioluminescence, fluorescence, planar X-ray, X-ray computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and nuclear imaging modalities (such as positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography that have been successfully employed for the study of lung function and pulmonary disorders in a preclinical setting. The major principles, benefits, and applications of each imaging modality and technology are reviewed. Limitations and the future prospective of multimodal imaging in pulmonary physiology are also discussed. In vivo imaging bridges molecular biological studies, drug design and discovery, and the imaging field with modern medical practice, and, as such, will continue to be a mainstay in biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L897-L914
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) and fluid clearance
  • Image molecular events in vivo
  • Noninvasive lung imaging
  • PAO-P1-lux bioluminescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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