Tracing of noradrenergic projections using manganese-enhanced MRI

Nikos Logothetis, Oxana Eschenko, Henry C. Evrard, Ricardo M. Neves, Michael Beyerlein, Yusuke Murayama, Nikos K. Logothetis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We examined the applicability of manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) to the in vivo tracing of diffuse neuromodulatory projections by means of simultaneous iontophoretic injections of an extremely low, non-toxic concentration of MnCl 2 (10mM) and fluorescent dextran in the locus coeruleus (LC) in the rat. We validated the use of the iontophoretic injection by reproducing previously reported results from pressure injections of MnCl 2 in primary somatosensory cortex. Twenty fourhours after injection in LC, Mn 2+ labeling was detected in major cortical and subcortical targets of LC projections including predominantly ipsilateral primary motor and somatosensory cortices, hippocampus and amygdala. Although the injections were in most cases centered in the core of LC, the pattern of Mn 2+ labeling greatly varied across rats. In addition, despite a certain degree of overlap of the labeling obtained with both MEMRI and classical tracing, MEMRI tracing consistently failed to reliably label not only several minor but also major targets of LC, notably the thalamus. The lack of Mn 2+ labeling in thalamus possibly reflected a weaker functional connectivity within coeruleothalamic projections that could not be predicted by anatomical tracing. Inversely, a number of brain regions, particularly contralateral motor cortex, that were not or only sparsely labeled with fluorescent dextran were strongly labeled by Mn 2+. This discrepancy could be partly due to both the activity-dependent and transsynaptic nature of Mn 2+ transport. The overall labeling produced using MEMRI with iontophoretic injections in LC indicates that the Mn 2+ imaging of highly diffuse projections is in principle feasible. However, the labeling pattern of each individual case needs to be carefully interpreted particularly before submitting data for group analysis or in the case of longitudinal examination of discrete changes in functional connectivity under various physiological or behavioral conditions. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3252-3265
    Number of pages13
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2012


    • Functional connectivity
    • Locus coeruleus
    • Manganese-enhanced MRI
    • Neuromodulatory system
    • Neuronal tract-tracing
    • Noradrenergic projections


    Dive into the research topics of 'Tracing of noradrenergic projections using manganese-enhanced MRI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this