Manganese is an essential mineral that is found at low levels in virtually all diets. Manganese ingestion represents the principal route of human exposure, although inhalation also occurs, predominantly in occupational cohorts. Regardless of intake, animals generally maintain stable tissue manganese levels as a result of homeostatic mechanisms that tightly regulate the absorption and excretion of this metal. However, high-dose exposures are associated with increased tissue manganese levels, causing adverse neurological, reproductive and respiratory effects. In humans, manganese-induced neurotoxicity is associated with a motor dysfunction syndrome, commonly referred to as manganism or Parkinsonism, which is of paramount concern and is considered to be one of the most sensitive endpoints. This article focuses on the dosimetry of manganese with special focus on transport mechanisms of manganese into the CNS. It is not intended to be an exhaustive review of the manganese literature; rather it aims to provide a useful synopsis of contemporary studies from which the reader may progress to other research citations as desired. Specific emphasis is directed towards recent published literature on manganese transporters' systemic distribution of manganese upon inhalation exposure as well as the utility of magnetic resonance imaging in quantifying brain manganese distribution.
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