Quantification of bioluminescence images of point source objects using diffusion theory models
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A simple approach for estimating the location and power of a bioluminescent point source inside tissue is reported. The strategy consists of using a diffuse reflectance image at the emission wavelength to determine the optical properties of the tissue. Following this, bioluminescence images are modelled using a single point source and the optical properties from the reflectance image, and the depth and power are iteratively adjusted to find the best agreement with the experimental image. The forward models for light propagation are based on the diffusion approximation, with appropriate boundary conditions. The method was tested using Monte Carlo simulations, Intralipid tissue-simulating phantoms and ex vivo chicken muscle. Monte Carlo data showed that depth could be recovered within 6% for depth 4-12 mm, and the corresponding relative source power within 12%. In Intralipid, the depth could be estimated within 8% for depth 4-12 mm, and the relative source power, within 20%. For ex vivo tissue samples, source depths of 4.5 and 10 mm and their relative powers were correctly identified.