Table 1

Comparison of imaging technology for systems biology

Imaging Technique

Resolution References

Spatial Resolution

Scan Time

Contrast Agents and Molecular Probes

Key Use


Multi-photon Microscopy

[29,38]

15 – 1000 nm

Secs

Fluorescent proteins, dyes, rhodamine amide, quantum dots

Visualization of cell structures

Atomic Force Microscopy

[104]

10 – 20 nm

Mins

Intermolecular forces

Mapping cell surface

Electron Microscopy

[41]

~5 nm

Secs

Cyrofixation

Discerning protein structure

Ultrasound

[29]

50 μm

Secs

Microbubbles, nanoparticles

Vascular imaging

CT/MicroCT

[29,70]

12 – 50 μm

Mins

Iodine

Lung and bone tumor imaging

MRI/MicroMRI

[29,76]

4 – 100 μm

Mins – Hrs

Gadolinium, dysprosium, iron oxide particles

Anatomical imaging

fMRI

[105]

~1 mm

Secs – Mins

Oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO2) deoxygenated hemoglobin (Hb)

Functional imaging of brain activity

MRS

[106,107]

~2 mm

Secs

N-acetylaspartate (NAA), creatine, choline, citrate

Detection of metabolites

PET/MicroPET

[29,108]

1 – 2 mm

Mins

Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), 18F, 11C, 15O

Metabolic imaging


The various micro versions of the imaging modalities (MicroCT, MicroMRI, MicroPET) as well as the microscopy techniques (Fluorescence, Multi-photon, Atomic, Electron) are primarily used in either cellular or animal studies. The remaining modalities (Ultrasound, CT, MRI, MRS, PET) are more widely used clinically.

Kherlopian et al. BMC Systems Biology 2008 2:74   doi:10.1186/1752-0509-2-74

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