Chronic exposure to manganese alters brain responses to amphetamine: A pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging study

Jason M. Williams, Dejan Milatovic, John C. Gore, Michael Aschner, Malcolm J. Avison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The parkinsonian symptoms and increased Mn accumulation in dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons of the basal ganglia implicate impaired dopamine signaling in the neurotoxic effects of chronic manganese overexposure. Using blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI), we mapped brain responses to acute amphetamine (AMPH; 3 mg/kg, ip), which stimulates midbrain DAergic systems, in male Sprague-Dawley rats following 6 weeks of chronic MnCl2 (5 mg Mn/kg, one per week, iv) or saline treatment. Plasma Mn content, measured immediately following phMRI, was elevated twofold in Mn-treated animals (p < 0.05), but the twofold increase in mean striatal Mn content did not reach significance. In saline-treated animals, AMPH stimulated robust positive BOLD responses throughout the basal ganglia and their reciprocally innervated connections. In contrast, acute AMPH stimulated a negative BOLD response in many of these structures in the Mn-treated group, resulting in significant differences between saline-and Mn-treated AMPH-evoked BOLD responses within caudate putamen, globus pallidus, substantia nigra, mediodorsal thalamic nucleus, and somatosensory cortex. These results demonstrate the utility of AMPH-evoked phMRI as readout of the DAergic signaling in vivo and confirm the vulnerability of DAergic systems to Mn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 8 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Basal ganglia
  • Dopamine
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Manganese
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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