ABSTRACT: Manganese ion (Mn 2þ) is an essential metal that participates as a cofactor in a number of critical biological functions, such as electron transport, detoxification of free radicals and synthesis of neurotransmitters. Mn 2þ can enter excitable cells using some of the same transport systems as Ca 2þ and it can bind to a number of intracellular sites because it has high affinity for Ca 2þ and Mg 2þ binding sites on proteins and nucleic acids. Paramagnetic forms of manganese ions are potent MRI relaxation agents. Indeed, Mn 2þ was the first contrast agent proposed for use in MRI. Recently, there has been renewed interest in combining the strong MRI relaxation effects of Mn 2þ with its unique biology, in order to further expand the already broad assortment of useful information that can be measured by MRI. Such an approach has been continuously developed in the past several years to provide unique tissue contrast, to assess tissue viability, to act as a surrogate marker of calcium influx into cells and to trace neuronal connections. This special issue of NMR in Biomedicine on manganeseenhanced MRI (MEMRI) is aimed at providing the readers of this journal with an extensive review of some of the most prominent applications of MEMRI in biological systems. Written by several of the leaders in the field, the reviews and original research articles featured in this special issue are likely to offer an exciting and inspiring view of the broad range o
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