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Simultaneous visualization of multiple radionuclides in vivo


The insufficient energy and spatial resolutions of radionuclide imaging with conventional scintillation detectors restrict the visualization of multiple radionuclides and of microstructures in tissue. Here we report the development and performance of an imaging system equipped with a cadmium telluride diode detector that achieves an energy resolution of 1.7% at 140 keV and a spatial resolution of 250 μm. The combination of high-resolution spectra fitted to an X-ray analysis model of the emission lines of the radionuclides in a chosen energy band allowed us to accurately determine individual radiation activities from three radionuclides to simultaneously visualize thyroid tissue (via intravenously administered iodine-125), mandibular lymph nodes (via the intramuscular injection of indium-111) and parotid lymph nodes (via a subcutaneous injection of technetium-99m) in mice. Multi-radionuclide imaging may find advantageous applications in biomedical imaging.

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Fig. 1: Separation of the spectral components from overlapping nuclides.
Fig. 2: Quantification of radioactivity.
Fig. 3: Evaluation of spatial resolutions.
Fig. 4: Multi-radionuclide in vivo imaging.

Data availability

The main data supporting the results in this study are available within the paper and its Supplementary Information. The raw and analysed datasets generated during the study are too large to be publicly shared, yet they are available for research purposes from the corresponding authors on reasonable request. Source data are provided with this paper.

Code availability

The custom code for data collection, spectral fitting and image reconstruction is intended to be used for the joint development of radionuclide imaging systems with companies. The code is, however, available for research purposes from the corresponding authors on request.


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This research was supported by World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) (A.Y., S.T., T.O. and T.T.), MEXT, JAPAN, a matching fund programme of Centers for Inter-University Collaboration from ISAS/JAXA (A.Y, S.T. and T.O.) and MEXT JSPS KAKENHI grant numbers 18H02700 (S.T. and A.Y.), 18H05463 (T.T., A.Y., S.T., T.O. and M.K.) and 20K16692 (A.Y.).

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Authors and Affiliations



A.Y. initiated the project. A.Y. designed the experiments with help from H. Mizuma, Y.K. and H.F. A.Y., S.T., T.O., G.Y. and T.K. performed the experiments with help from I.O.U. and K.O., and H.F., S.T., M.K., G.Y. and H. Matsumura analysed the data. S.W., S.T., T.T. and A.Y. contributed materials/analysis tools. A.Y. wrote the paper with help from P.C., T.T., H.F., H. Mizuma and Y.K.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Atsushi Yagishita or Shin’ichiro Takeda.

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Nature Biomedical Engineering thanks Ramsey Badawi, Paul Lecoq and Marco Pizzichemi for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.

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Supplementary information

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Supplementary Figs. 1–7 and Table 1.

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Yagishita, A., Takeda, S., Katsuragawa, M. et al. Simultaneous visualization of multiple radionuclides in vivo. Nat. Biomed. Eng 6, 640–647 (2022).

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