Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a surrogate method to measure calcium content in nervous system since manganese physiologically follows calcium. Manganese is detectable in MRI and therefore visualizes structures and cell populations that actively regulate calcium. Since calcium is actively recruited for the transmission of action potentials, our purpose is to validate manganese-enhanced MRI for detection of changes in lumbar nerves related to nociception. A neuropathic pain model was created by chronic constrictive injury of the left sciatic nerve of Sprague-Dawley rats. Behavioral measurements, using von Frey's tests, confirmed the presence of significant allodynia in the left hind limb of animals in the injured group. T1-weighted fast spin echo images were obtained of the lumbar cord and plexus of animals with injured left sciatic nerve and uninjured animals (control) scanned in a 7 Tesla magnet after intraperitoneal manganese chloride administration four weeks after surgery. Lumbar nerve roots and sciatic nerves in the injured group show increased normalized manganese-enhanced MRI signal, representing manganese enhancement, compared to the control group. In conclusion, animals with neuropathic pain in the left hind limb show increased manganese uptake in not only the injured sciatic nerve but also in the contralateral uninjured sciatic nerve on manganese-enhanced MRI in vivo. Although poorly understood, this finding corroborates ex vivo finding of bilateral nociceptive-related molecular changes in the nervous system of unilateral pain models.
View details for PubMedID 23638339