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Mapping 241Am Spatial Distribution Within Anatomical Bone Structures Using Digital Autoradiography

Tabatadze, George1; Miller, Brian W.2,3; Tolmachev, Sergei Y.1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000947

Digital autoradiography with the ionizing radiation quantum imaging detector is used at the US Transuranium and Uranium Registries for visualizing the microdistribution of alpha particles from 241Am and quantifying the activity. The radionuclide spatial distribution was investigated within cortical and trabecular regions of bone samples from US Transuranium and Uranium Registries case 0846. Multiple specimens from the humerus proximal end, humerus proximal shaft, and clavicle acromial end were embedded in plastic, and 100‐μm-thick sections were taken and imaged using the ionizing radiation quantum imaging detector. The detector images were superimposed on the anatomical structure images to visualize 241Am distribution in cortical bone, trabecular bone, and trabecular spongiosa. Activity concentration ratios were used to characterize 241Am distribution within different bone regions. The trabecular-to-cortical bone and trabecular-spongiosa-to-cortical bone activity concentration ratios were quantified in both humerus and clavicle. The ionizing radiation quantum imaging detector results were in agreement with those obtained from radiochemical analysis of the remaining bone specimens. The results were compared with International Commission on Radiological Protection default biokinetic model predictions. Digital autoradiography was proven to be an effective method for microscale heterogeneous distribution studies where traditional counting methods are impractical.

1US Transuranium and Uranium Registries, College of Pharmacy, Washington State University, 1845 Terminal Drive, Suite 201, Richland, WA 99354;

2Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, 13001 E. 17th Place, Aurora, CO 80045;

3College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, 1630 E. University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact George Tabatadze, US Transuranium and Uranium Registries, Washington State University, 1845 Terminal Drive, Suite 201, Richland, WA 99354‐4959, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 5 July 2018)

Online date: October 6, 2018

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society