Speciation of manganese in cells and mitochondria: A search for the proximal cause of manganese neurotoxicity

Thomas E. Gunter, Claire E. Gavin, Michael Aschner, Karlene K. Gunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Scopus citations


Recent studies of speciation of manganese (Mn) in brain mitochondria, neuron-like cells, and astrocytes are reviewed. No evidence is found for oxidation of Mn2+ complexes to a Mn3+ complex. The only evidence for any Mn3+ complex is found in a spectrum essentially identical to that of mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). While this does not prove that no Mn3+ is produced in these tissues by oxidation of Mn2+, it does suggest that formation of an active Mn3+ complex by oxidation of Mn2+ probably does not play as important a role in Mn toxicity as has been suggested earlier. Since these results suggest that we should look elsewhere for the proximal causes of Mn neurotoxicity, we consider the possibilities that Mn3+ may be transported into the cell via transferrin and that Mn2+ may inhibit Ca2+-activation and control of the rate of ATP production by oxidative phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-776
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Cellular manganese
  • Manganese toxicity
  • Mitochondrial manganese
  • Speciation of manganese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

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