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Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) is a widely used technique in rodent neuroimaging studies. Traditionally, Mn2+ is delivered to animals via a systemic injection; however, this can lead to toxic effects at high doses. Recent studies have shown that subcutaneously implanted mini-osmotic pumps can be used to continuously deliver manganese chloride (MnCl2), and that they produce satisfactory contrast while circumventing many of the toxic side effects. However, neither the time-course of signal enhancement nor the effect of continuous Mn2+ delivery on behaviour, particularly learning and memory, have been well-characterized. Here, we investigated the effect of MnCl2 dose and route of administration on a) spatial learning in the Morris Water Maze and b) tissue signal enhancement in the mouse brain. Even as early as 3 days after pump implantation, infusion of 25-50 mg/kg/day MnCl2 via osmotic pump produced signal enhancement as good as or better than that achieved 24 h after a single 50 mg/kg intraperitoneal injection. Neither route of delivery nor MnCl2 dose adversely affected spatial learning and memory on the water maze. However, especially at higher doses, mice receiving MnCl2 via osmotic pumps developed skin ulceration which limited the imaging window. With these findings, we provide recommendations for route and dose of MnCl2 to use for different study designs.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





411 - 420


Behaviour, Learning and memory, MEMRI, Osmotic pumps, Toxicity, Animals, Brain, Chlorides, Image Enhancement, Infusion Pumps, Implantable, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Manganese Compounds, Maze Learning, Mice, Skin Ulcer