Manganese-enhanced MRI reveals multiple cellular and vascular layers in normal and degenerated retinas

Govind Nair, MacHelle T. Pardue, Moon Kim, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: To use manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) at 25 × 25 × 800 μm3 to image different retinal and vascular layers in the rat retinas. Materials and Methods: Manganese-chloride was injected intraocularly in normal (n = 5) and Royal College of Surgeons (RCS, an model of photoreceptor degeneration) (n = 5) rats at postnatal day 90. MEMRI at 4.7 T was performed 24 hours later. MRI was repeated following intravenous Gd-DTPA in the same animals to highlight the vasculatures. Layer assignment and thickness were compared to histology. Results: MEMRI 24 hours after intravitreal manganese-chloride injection revealed seven bands of alternating hyper- and hypointensities, corresponding histologically to the ganglion cell layer, inner plexiform layer, inner nuclear layer, outer plexiform layer, outer nuclear layer, photoreceptor-segment layer, and choroidal vascular layer. Intravenous Gd-DTPA-which does not cross the blood-retinal barrier and the retinal pigment epithelium-further enhanced the two layers bounding the retina, corresponding to the retinal and choroidal vascular layers, but not the avascular outer nuclear layer and the photoreceptor-segment layer. MEMRI of the RCS retinas revealed the loss of the outer plexiform layer, outer nuclear layer, and photoreceptor-segment layer. Histological analysis corroborated the MRI laminar assignments and thicknesses. Conclusion: Lamina-specific retinal structures neurodegenerative changes to structure in retinal diseases can be detected using MEMRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1422-1429
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • MRI microscopy
  • RCS
  • high resolution imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • retinal degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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