This review addresses nuclear SPECT and PET imaging in small animals in relation to the atherosclerotic disease process, one of our research topics of interest. Imaging of atherosclerosis in small animal models is challenging, as it operates at the limits of current imaging possibilities regarding sensitivity, and spatial resolution. Several topics are discussed, including technical considerations that apply to image acquisition, reconstruction, and analysis. Moreover, molecules developed for or applied in these small animal nuclear imaging studies are listed, including target-directed molecules, useful for imaging organs or tissues that have elevated expression of the target compared to other tissues, and molecules that serve as substrates for metabolic processes. Differences between animal models and human pathophysiology that should be taken into account during translation from animal to patient as well as differences in tracer behavior in animal vs. man are also described. Finally, we give a future outlook on small animal radionuclide imaging in atherosclerosis, followed by recommendations. The challenges and solutions described might be applicable to other research fields of health and disease as well.

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Keywords mice, nuclear imaging, SPECT, PET, atherosclerosis
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Journal Frontiers in Medicine
Meester, E.J., Krenning, B.J, de Swart, J., Segbers, M., Barrett, H.E., Bernsen, M.R, … de Jong, M. (2019). Perspectives on Small Animal Radionuclide Imaging; Considerations and Advances in Atherosclerosis. Frontiers in Medicine, 6. doi:10.3389/fmed.2019.00039