Effective date: June 1st, 2008
Update date: August 12, 2008

I. Purpose: The guidelines provide investigators with general information on animal imaging studies using PET/CT scanner in the BRIC- Small Animal Imaging Facility (SAIF).

II. Responsibilities and Scope:

  1. All investigators involved in performing PET/CT animal studies must familiarize themselves with this SOP.
  2. It is the responsibility of the Principle Investigators to provide the SAIF with the following documents prior to the first imaging session:
    • SAIF Project Proposal Form
    • Approved Animal Protocol (including any amendments)
    • Grant Account Number for billing purposes
  3. It is the responsibility of the PIs to follow the SOP for the Animal Transportation Regulations established by UNC IACUC.
  4. It is the responsibility of the PIs to arrive at the imaging facility preferably before the scheduled time. In the event that a user is late or does not show up, he/she will still be charged for the scheduled time unless cancellation is informed at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled studies.
  5. It is the responsibility of the PIs to inform SAIF staffs of any specific requests for imaging, including animal anesthesia, specific positioning, and imaging quality.

III. General Procedures:

  1. Prior to the imaging study, the investigator must sign up for a time slot to use the PET/CT instrument.
  2. The investigator needs to bring the animals to the SAIF PET/CT facility at or preferably before the scheduled time.
  3. SAIF staffs will retrieve radioactivity dose from hospital PET clinic. Optionally, the PI may bring the activity to the PET/CT lab prior to the imaging study.
  4. The animal will be weighted, and then placed in an induction chamber with a short 3% Isoflurane/oxygen mixture gas induction. Once general anesthesia is induced, the animal will be removed from the induction chamber, and attached securely to a nose cone. The anesthesia supply line and scavenging canister will be removed from the induction chamber and attached to the nose cone and the flow of anesthesia resumed (~1.5% Isoflurane/oxygen).* Except specifically described in the PI’s protocol, all imaging animals will be anesthetized using isoflurane gas. Please inform SAIF staffs if you wish to use different anesthesia method.
  5. Any animal procedures specific to the protocol, such as tail vein catheter placement, should be performed at this stage while maintaining anesthesia.
  6. Radioactivity dose will be prepared for injection. For static [18]F-FDG imaging, about 400 Ci will be diluted in 200 l saline. Injection dose will be drawn to the requested amount of radioactivity and measured in a dose calibrator before injection.
  7. The radioactivity will be administered either by retro-orbital injection, or tail vein catheter. The injection time will be noted for calculating the uptake period. The remaining activity in the syringe will be measured in the dose calibrator after injection for correction to the true injected dose.
  8. The animal will be placed on an animal bed in the scanner and securely attached to a nose cone for isoflurane anesthesia. Vital sign monitoring probes/electrodes, such as breathing probe, temperature probe, and ECG probes should be attached to the animal at this time.
  9. Perform attenuation correction CT scan (4 shots averaged, standard resolution, 160 μA, 40 kVp appears optimal for mice).
  10. After waiting for the predetermined uptake period, the PET scan will begin.
  11. After imaging, all electrodes/probes and tape will be removed from the animal. Anesthesia will be halted and the animal placed on a heating pad. Recovery will be monitored and the animal returned to the cage after it is in sternal recumbency. For terminal studies, the animal will be euthanized using the method indicated in PI’s animal protocol immediately after the scan, and placed in our freezer for radioactivity decay.
  12. After the experiment is complete the room will be decontaminated. All surfaces that come into contact with the animal will be wiped down with diluted Roccal (provided in each imaging room). Also wipe down any vital signs monitoring probes that contact with the animal.
  13. Make sure the gas and isoflurane machine is turned off.
  14. Do area survey to make sure there is no radioactivity contamination.

VI. Safety Considerations:

  1. Anyone that has not approved for working with radioactivity materials should not enter the PET/CT lab for any experiments.
  2. Anyone working with the radioactive materials should follow the guidelines for radiation safety, such as wearing radiation badge, wearing gloves to handle RAMs.
  3. The SAIF staffs should always remind users to be aware of radiation safety issues.
  4. Reminder: Drinking, eating and open-toe shoes are not allowed under any circumstances in all of SAIF. Anyone dealing with animals should wear lab coat and gloves during any procedures.