Measuring brain manganese and iron accumulation in rats following 14 weeks of low-dose manganese treatment using atomic absorption spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging

Vanessa A. Fitsanakis, Na Zhang, Joel G. Anderson, Keith M. Erikson, Malcolm J. Avison, John C. Gore, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


Chronic exposure to manganese (Mn) may lead to a movement disorder due to preferential Mn accumulation in the globus pallidus and other basal ganglia nuclei. Iron (Fe) deficiency also results in increased brain Mn levels, as well as dysregulation of other trace metals. The relationship between Mn and Fe transport has been attributed to the fact that both metals can be transported via the same molecular mechanisms. It is not known, however, whether brain Mn distribution patterns due to increased Mn exposure vs. Fe deficiency are the same, or whether Fe supplementation would reverse or inhibit Mn deposition. To address these questions, we utilized four distinct experimental populations. Three separate groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats on different diets (control diet [MnT], Fe deficient [FeD], or Fe supplemented [FeS]) were given weekly intravenous Mn injections (3 mg Mn/kg body mass) for 14 weeks, whereas control (CN) rats were fed the control diet and received sterile saline injections. At the conclusion of the study, both blood and brain Mn and Fe levels were determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging. The data indicate that changes in dietary Fe levels (either increased or decreased) result in regionally specific increases in brain Mn levels compared with CN or MnT animals. Furthermore, there was no difference in either Fe or Mn accumulation between FeS or FeD animals. These data suggest that dietary Fe manipulation, whether increased or decreased, may contribute to brain Mn deposition in populations vulnerable to increased Mn exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain Mn accumulation
  • Iron deficiency (ID)
  • Iron supplementation
  • MMT
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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