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X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) for determination of thyroid iodine content

XRF is a technique, which has been used successfully for many years in material analysis and also in vitro as well as in vivo. Today XRF is primarily used as a non destructive method for investigation of metals, minerals, environmental samples, food constituents, body fluids and biopsies. At the department of Radiation Physics this method is presently used for measurements of iodine in the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland governs body metabolism, growth and function through its hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine. These iodine containing hormones are produced and stored in the thyroid. Knowledge of the iodine pool can contribute to the understanding of many thyroidal diseases and possibly predict treatment outcome.

XRF for measurement of intrathyroidal iodine was first introduced by Hoffer et al in 1968 but although several groups have presented positive results, the method is not, as we know of, clinically used. This is most likely owing to the relatively small field of application but also to methodological difficulties regarding three main issues: choice of analysed volume, accurate positioning and correct calibration. The work at our department has therefore been focused on investigation and development of the XRF method regarding these issues.

Different factors influencing the detected iodine signal has been studied both using experiments and Monte Carlo (MC) simulations (Hansson et al 2004, Hansson et al 2007). MC simulations have also been used for improving the individual calibrations (Hansson et al 2007). Moreover the XRF system has been applied in vivo on a group of thyroid healthy individuals (Milakovic et al 2006). Ongoing projects and future studies are: I) Evaluation of the best preservation method for samples to be measured in vitro with XRF, II) Usage of both XRF and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) for determination of the total iodine content and distribution in benign and malignant thyroid tissue, III) Further optimisation of the measurement geometry and calibration for in vivo studies.

The project goal is to present a safe and stable XRF system which can be used with good accuracy in vitro as well as in vivo. Determination of the thyroid iodine content by XRF investigation offers a unique possibility to study the intrathyroidal iodine pool. Apart from clinical applications in subjects with thyroid disease it would be of outmost interest to apply the method in situations of iodine deficiency or iodine overload to improve the knowledge of how our body handles the uptake and storage of the rare element iodine.

Hansson M, Berg G, Larsson A, Nyström E, Isaksson M. X-ray fluorescence analysis for determination of iodine concentration in the thyroid A methodological study. Int J Body Composition Research 2004; 2: 155-63.

Hansson M, Berg G, Isaksson M. In vivo X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) of the thyroid iodine content -Influence of measurement geometries on the iodine Kα signal. Accepted for publication in X-ray Spectrometry.

Hansson M, Isaksson M. A Monte Carlo (MC) based individual calibration method for
in vivo X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF). Phys Med Biol 2007; 52: 2009-2019

Milakovic M, Berg G, Eggertsen R, Nystrom E, Olsson A, Larsson A Hansson M. Determination of intrathyroidal iodine by X-ray fluorescence analysis in 60- to 65-year olds living in an iodine-sufficient area. J Intern Med 2006; 260: 69-75.


Avdelningen för Radiofysik

Gula stråket 2B, Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset, 413 45, Göteborg

Radiofysikhuset, Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset

Sidansvarig: Johan Spetz|Sidan uppdaterades: 2015-06-25

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