Mangafodipir trisodium (manganese dipyridoxal diphosphate or MnDPDP) has been introduced as a hepatobiliary MR contrast agent (Teslascan). Its potential to assist in the characterisation of focal liver lesions, the diagnosis of local and global obstructive cholestasis and the evaluation of hepatic function in diffuse liver diseases has been explored in multiple pre-clinical experiments with appropriate animal models. The prompt negative contrast enhancement and delayed peritumoural rim-enhancement seen after i.v. injection of MnDPDP are 2 typical features of primary and secondary liver tumours with high malignancy, while the persistent positive enhancement is a sign of liver tumours of well preserved hepatocytic nature. Liver with local and total biliary obstruction can be visualized in MnDPDP-enhanced MR images as a region with prolonged signal enhancement. This agent could also be used to non-invasively evaluate diffuse liver diseases of different causes. In the present paper, we review the experimental data in the literature, provide some unpublished results and discuss the potential impact on the clinical use of MnDPDP in the liver. We conclude that MnDPDP is a promising MR liver contrast agent for the detection and characterisation of focal and diffuse liver diseases.