We investigate the problem of retrieving the optical properties (absorption and scattering) of biological tissue from a set of optical measurements. A diffuse optical tomography (DOT) algorithm that incorporates constrained optimization methods is implemented. To improve image quality, the DOT algorithm exploits full time-domain data. The time-dependent parabolic simplified spherical harmonics equations (TD-) are used as the forward model. Time-dependent adjoint variables are resorted to in the calculation of the gradient of the objective function. Several numerical experiments for small geometric media with embedded inclusions that mimic small animal imaging are performed. In the experiments, optical coefficient values are varied in the range of realistic values for the near-infrared spectrum, including high absorption values. Single and multiparameter reconstructions are performed with the diffusion equation and higher orders of the TD- equations. The results suggest the DOT algorithm based on the TD- model outperforms the DE, and accurately reconstructs optical parameter distributions of biological media both spatially and quantitatively.