Behavioral, electrophysiological and histopathological consequences of systemic manganese administration in MEMRI
Manganese (Mn2+)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) offers the possibility to generate longitudinal maps of brain activity in unrestrained and behaving animals. However, Mn2+ is a metabolic toxin and a competitive inhibitor for Ca2+, and therefore, a yet unsolved question in MEMRI studies is whether the concentrations of metal ion used may alter brain physiology. In the present work we have investigated the behavioral, electrophysiological and histopathological consequences of MnCl2 administration at concentrations and dosage protocols regularly used in MEMRI. Three groups of animals were sc injected with saline, 0.1 and 0.5 mmol/kg MnCl2, respectively. In vivo electrophysiological recordings in the hippocampal formation revealed a mild but detectable decrease in both excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP) and population spike (PS) amplitude under the highest MnCl2 dose. The EPSP to PS ratio was preserved at control levels, indicating that neuronal excitability was not affected. Experiments of pair pulse facilitation demonstrated a dose dependent increase in the potentiation of the second pulse, suggesting presynaptic Ca2+ competition as the mechanism for the decreased neuronal response. Tetanization of the perforant path induced a long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission that was comparable in all groups, regardless of treatment. Accordingly, the choice accuracy tested on a hippocampal-dependent learning task was not affected. However, the response latency in the same task was largely increased in the group receiving 0.5 mmol/kg of MnCl2. Immunohistological examination of the hippocampus at the end of the experiments revealed no sign of neuronal toxicity or glial reaction. Although we show that MEMRI at 0.1 mmol/Kg MnCl2 may be safely applied to the study of cognitive networks, a detailed assessment of toxicity is strongly recommended for each particular study and Mn2+ administration protocol.
Publication typeJournal article