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To employ functional manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) to image layer-specific changes in calcium-dependent activities in the rat retina during light versus dark adaptation. Functional MEMRI at 20 × 20 × 700 μm was used to study light and dark adaptation in the same animals (N = 10) in which one eye was covered and the fellow eye was not. The activity encoding of the light and dark adaptation was achieved in awake conditions and imaged under anesthesia. T(1)-weighted MRI at 11.7 tesla (T) was performed using two identical radiofrequency transceiver coils to allow interleaved MRI acquisitions of the two eyes. An intravascular contrast agent was also used to verify layer assignments. MEMRI detected contrasts among the inner retina, outer retina, and choroid. Independent confirmation of the vascular layers and boundaries between layers was documented with an intravascular contrast agent. The retinal layer thicknesses agreed with published data. The outer retina had lower MEMRI activity in light compared with dark adaption (P < 0.001), consistent with the increased metabolic demand associated with the "dark current." The inner retina had higher MEMRI activity in light compared with dark adaption (P < 0.05). The choroid MEMRI activity was not statistically different between light and dark adaptation (P > 0.05). This study demonstrated a high-resolution MEMRI protocol to image functional activities among different layers of the retinas in awake animals during light and dark adaptation. This approach could have potential applications in animal models of retinal dysfunction.


Bryan H De La Garza, Guang Li, Yen-Yu I Shih, Timothy Q Duong. Layer-specific manganese-enhanced MRI of the retina in light and dark adaptation. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2012 Jul;53(8):4352-8

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PMID: 22669725

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