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Phase contrast X-ray imaging of mice and rabbit lungs: a comparative study.Kitchen, M J; Lewis, R A; Yagi, N; Uesugi, K; Paganin, D; Hooper, S B; Adams, G; Jureczek, S; Singh, J; Christensen, C R; et al. (2005-11)The significant degree of X-ray phase contrast created by air-tissue interfaces, coupled with the poor radiographic contrast of conventional chest radiographs, makes the inflated lung an ideal candidate for investigating the potential diagnostic improvement afforded by phase contrast X-ray imaging. In small animals these methods highlight the lung airways and lobe boundaries and reveal the lung tissue as a speckled intensity pattern not seen in other soft tissues. We have compared analyser-based and propagation-based phase contrast imaging modalities, together with conventional radiographic imaging, to ascertain which technique shows the greatest image enhancement for various lung sizes. The conventional radiographic image of a mouse was obtained on a Siemens Nova 3000 mammography system, whilst phase contrast images of mice and rabbit chests were acquired at the medical imaging beamline (20B2) at the SPring-8 synchrotron radiation research facility in Japan. For mice aged 1 day, 1 week and 1 month old it was determined that analyser-based imaging showed the greatest overall image contrast, however, for an adult rabbit both techniques yielded excellent contrast. The success of these methods in creating high quality images for rabbit lungs raises the possibility of improving human lung imaging using phase contrast techniques.