Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) of rat brain after systemic administration of MnCl₂: hippocampal signal enhancement without disruption of hippocampus-dependent behavior.
Manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) is being increasingly used for MRI in animals due to the unique T1 contrast that is sensitive to a number of biological processes. Three specific uses of MEMRI have been demonstrated: to visualize activity in the brain and the heart; to trace neuronal specific connections in the brain; and to enhance the brain cytoarchitecture after a systemic dose. Based on an ever-growing number of applications, MEMRI is proving useful as a new molecular imaging method to visualize functional neural circuits and anatomy as well as function in the brain in vivo. Paramount to the successful application of MEMRI is the ability to deliver Mn2+ to the site of interest at an appropriate dose and in a time-efficient manner. A major drawback to the use of Mn2+ as a contrast agent is its cellular toxicity. Therefore, it is critical to use as low a dose as possible. In the present work the different approaches to MEMRI are reviewed from a practical standpoint. Emphasis is given to the experimental methodology of how to achieve significant, yet safe, amounts of Mn2+ to the target areas of interest.