Quantitative molecular bioluminescence tomography

Alexander Bentley, Xiangkun Xu, Zijian Deng, Jon Rowe, Ken Kang-hsin Wang, Hamid Dehghani

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Significance: Bioluminescence imaging and tomography (BLT) are used to study biologically relevant activity, typically within a mouse model. A major limitation is that the underlying optical properties of the volume are unknown, leading to the use of a "best"estimate approach often compromising quantitative accuracy. Aim: An optimization algorithm is presented that localizes the spatial distribution of bioluminescence by simultaneously recovering the optical properties and location of bioluminescence source from the same set of surface measurements. Approach: Measured data, using implanted self-illuminating sources as well as an orthotopic glioblastoma mouse model, are employed to recover three-dimensional spatial distribution of the bioluminescence source using a multi-parameter optimization algorithm. Results: The proposed algorithm is able to recover the size and location of the bioluminescence source while accounting for tissue attenuation. Localization accuracies of <1 mm are obtained in all cases, which is similar if not better than current "gold standard"methods that predict optical properties using a different imaging modality. Conclusions: Application of this approach, using in-vivo experimental data has shown that quantitative BLT is possible without the need for any prior knowledge about optical parameters, paving the way toward quantitative molecular imaging of exogenous and indigenous biological tumor functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number066004
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors AB and HD would like to acknowledge financial support from EPSRC through a studentship from the Physical Sciences for Health Centre for Doctoral Training (EP/L016346/1). The authors XX, ZD, and KKW would like to acknowledge the funding support from Xstrahl Ltd., National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health of USA (R21CA223403, R37CA230341, R01CA240811, and P30 CA006973) and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas RR200042.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.


  • bioluminescence imaging
  • bioluminescence tomography
  • diffuse optical imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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