Manganese as a Neurotoxin

Toxicity of manganese is more common than its deficiency (1), which unfortunately cause damage to the brain. Manganese appears to cause neurogeneration by activating microglia and causing them to release neurotoxins such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which produce oxidative damage (2). The neurotoxins are also thought to possibly alter influence of neurotransmitters such as dopamine or gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (1). According to a studies on non-human primates exposed to high doses of manganese, the mineral can lead to deficits in working memory performance and even induce an increase of beta-amyloid production linking manganese to Alzheimer’s disease (3;4).

Reference List
1. Anderson JG, Fordahl SC, Cooney PT, Weaver TL, Colyer CL, Erikson KM. Manganese exposure alters extracellular GABA, GABA receptor and transporter protein and mRNA levels in the developing rat brain. Neurotoxicology 2008;29:1044-53.
2. Zhang P, Wong TA, Lokuta KM, Turner DE, Vujisic K, Liu B. Microglia enhance manganese chloride-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration: role of free radical generation. Exp Neurol 2009;217:219-30.
3. Schneider JS, Decamp E, Clark K, Bouquio C, Syversen T, Guilarte TR. Effects of chronic manganese exposure on working memory in non-human primates. Brain Res 2009;1258:86-95.
4. Burton NC, Guilarte TR. Manganese neurotoxicity: lessons learned from longitudinal studies in nonhuman primates. Environ Health Perspect 2009;117:325-32.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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