Neurotoxicity of manganese: Indications for future research and public health intervention from the Manganese 2016 conference

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Abstract

Manganese is an essential trace element, but also at high levels a neurotoxicant. Manganese neurotoxicity has been extensively studied since its discovery in highly exposed workers. The International conference MANGANESE2016 held at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York provided relevant updates on manganese research in relation to both occupational and environmental exposures. Epidemiological, toxicological and cellular studies reported at the conference have yielded new insights on mechanisms of manganese toxicity and on opportunities for preventive intervention. Strong evidence now exists for causal associations between manganese and both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. The neurodevelopmental effects of early life exposures are an example of the developmental origin of health and disease (DOHAD) concept. Brain imaging has rapidly become an important tool for examining brain areas impacted by manganese at various life stages. Candidate biomarkers of exposure are being identified in hair, nails, and teeth and reflect different exposure windows and relate to different health outcomes. Sex differences were reported in several studies, suggesting that women are more susceptible. New evidence indicates that the transporter genes SLC30A10 and SLC39A8 influence both manganese homeostasis and toxicity. New potential chelation modalities are being developed.

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