Manganese and aging

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Abstract

Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal that is required as a cofactor for many enzymes and is necessary for optimal biological function. Mn is abundant in the earth's crust and is present in soil and well water. Mn is also found in industrial settings, including mining, welding, and battery manufacture. Mn is also present in infant formula, parenteral nutrition, as well as pesticides and gasoline additives. A sufficient amount of Mn is obtained from most diets, and Mn deficiency is exceedingly rare. Excessive exposure to Mn in high doses can result in a condition known as manganism that results in psychological and emotional disturbances and motor symptoms that are reminiscent of Parkinson's disease, including gait disturbance, tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia. Treatment for manganism is to remove the patient from Mn exposure, though symptoms are generally irreversible. The effects of exposure to Mn at lower doses are less clear. Little work has been done to evaluate the effects of chronic exposure to subclinical levels of Mn, especially in regard to lifelong exposures and the effects on the aging process. Mn is known to have effects on some of the same mechanistic processes that are altered in aging. This review will describe the general effects of Mn exposure and will focus on how Mn may be related to some of the mechanism of aging: neurogenesis, oxidative stress, and microglial activation and inflammation.

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