Molecules (2020-12-01)

Manganese Accumulation in the Brain via Various Transporters and Its Neurotoxicity Mechanisms

  • Ivan Nyarko-Danquah,
  • Edward Pajarillo,
  • Alexis Digman,
  • Karam F. A. Soliman,
  • Michael Aschner,
  • Eunsook Lee

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 25, no. 5880
p. 5880


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Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element, serving as a cofactor for several key enzymes, such as glutamine synthetase, arginase, pyruvate decarboxylase, and mitochondrial superoxide dismutase. However, its chronic overexposure can result in a neurological disorder referred to as manganism, presenting symptoms similar to those inherent to Parkinson’s disease. The pathological symptoms of Mn-induced toxicity are well-known, but the underlying mechanisms of Mn transport to the brain and cellular toxicity leading to Mn’s neurotoxicity are not completely understood. Mn’s levels in the brain are regulated by multiple transporters responsible for its uptake and efflux, and thus, dysregulation of these transporters may result in Mn accumulation in the brain, causing neurotoxicity. Its distribution and subcellular localization in the brain and associated subcellular toxicity mechanisms have also been extensively studied. This review highlights the presently known Mn transporters and their roles in Mn-induced neurotoxicity, as well as subsequent molecular and cellular dysregulation upon its intracellular uptakes, such as oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, disruption of neurotransmission, α-synuclein aggregation, and amyloidogenesis.