Rapid progress in the development of multispectral optoacoustic tomography techniques has enabled unprecedented insights into biological dynamics and molecular processes in vivo and noninvasively at penetration and spatiotemporal scales not covered by modern optical microscopy methods. Ultrasound imaging provides highly complementary information on elastic and functional tissue properties and further aids in enhancing optoacoustic image quality. We devised the first hybrid transmission-reflection optoacoustic ultrasound (TROPUS) small animal imaging platform that combines optoacoustic tomography with both reflection- and transmission-mode ultrasound computed tomography. The system features full-view cross-sectional tomographic imaging geometry for concomitant noninvasive mapping of the absorbed optical energy, acoustic reflectivity, speed of sound, and acoustic attenuation in whole live mice with submillimeter resolution and unrivaled image quality. Graphics-processing unit (GPU)-based algorithms employing spatial compounding and bent-ray-tracing iterative reconstruction were further developed to attain real-time rendering of ultrasound tomography images in the full-ring acquisition geometry. In vivo mouse imaging experiments revealed fine details on the organ parenchyma, vascularization, tissue reflectivity, density, and stiffness. We further used the speed of sound maps retrieved by the transmission ultrasound tomography to improve optoacoustic reconstructions via two-compartment modeling. The newly developed synergistic multimodal combination offers unmatched capabilities for imaging multiple tissue properties and biomarkers with high resolution, penetration, and contrast.

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