Continuous infusion of manganese improves contrast and reduces side effects in manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging studies


The ability to administer systemically high doses of manganese as contrast agent while circumventing its toxicity is of particular interest for exploratory MRI studies of the brain. Administering low doses either repeatedly or continuously over time has been shown to enable the acquisition of satisfactory MRI images of the mouse brain without apparent side effects. Here we have systematically compared the obtained MRI contrast and recorded potential systemic side effects such as stress response and muscle strength impairment in relation to the achieved contrast. We show in mice that administering MnCl2 via osmotic infusion pumps allows for a side-effect free delivery of a high cumulative dose of manganese chloride (480 mg/kg bodyweight in 8 days). High contrast in MRI was achieved while we did not observe the weight loss or distress seen in other studies where mice received manganese via fractionated intraperitoneal injections of lower doses of manganese. As the normal daily conduct of the mice was not affected, this new manganese delivery method might be of particular use to study brain activity over several days. This may facilitate the phenotyping of new transgenic mouse models, the study of chronic disease models and the monitoring of changes in brain activity in long-term behavioral studies.