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Manganese-based contrast media were the first in vivo paramagnetic agents to be used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The uniqueness of manganese lies in its biological function as a calcium channel analog, thus behaving as an intracellular contrast agent. Manganese ions are taken up by voltage-gated calcium channels in viable tissues, such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and heart, in response to active calcium-dependent cellular processes. Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) has therefore been used as a surrogate marker for cellular calcium handling and interest in its potential clinical applications has recently re-emerged, especially in relation to assessing cellular viability and myocardial function. Calcium homeostasis is central to myocardial contraction and dysfunction of myocardial calcium handling is present in various cardiac pathologies. Recent studies have demonstrated that MEMRI can detect the presence of abnormal myocardial calcium handling in patients with myocardial infarction, providing clear demarcation between the infarcted and viable myocardium. Furthermore, it can provide more subtle assessments of abnormal myocardial calcium handling in patients with cardiomyopathies and being excluded from areas of nonviable cardiomyocytes and severe fibrosis. As such, MEMRI offers exciting potential to improve cardiac diagnoses and provide a noninvasive measure of myocardial function and contractility. This could be an invaluable tool for the assessment of both ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathies as well as providing a measure of functional myocardial recovery, an accurate prediction of disease progression and a method of monitoring treatment response. EVIDENCE LEVEL: 5: TECHNICAL EFFICACY: STAGE 5.

Original publication




Journal article


J magn reson imaging

Publication Date





1011 - 1028


calcium handling, kinetic modeling, manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, Humans, Manganese, Calcium, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cardiomyopathies, Contrast Media, Myocytes, Cardiac