Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element, but chronic overexposure to this metal, either environmentally or occupationally may cause manganism, a disease analogous to Parkinson's disease. Inhibitors of histone deacetylases, such as valproic acid (VPA) and sodium butyrate (NaB) exert neuroprotective effects in various animal models of neurological disorders. Thus, the present study investigated whether VPA or NaB prevent Mn-induced neurotoxicity by assessing locomotor activities and expression of astrocytic glutamate transporters, glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST), in C57BL/6 mice. C57BL/6 mice were pretreated with VPA (200 mg/kg, i.p.) or NaB (1200 mg/kg, i.p.) prior to intranasal instillation of Mn (30 mg/kg) continually for 21 days, followed by open-field and rota-rod behavioral tests and analyses of astrocytic glutamate transporters GLT-1 and GLAST protein/mRNA levels. The results showed that Mn significantly decreased locomotor activity as determined by total distance travelled, stereotypic and ambulatory counts. Mn also significantly decreased rota-rod activity reflecting altered motor coordination. Pretreatment with VPA and NaB with Mn reversed the effects of Mn on the locomotor activity and motor coordination. VPA and NaB also attenuated the Mn-induced decrease in GLT-1 and GLAST mRNA and protein levels in the cerebral cortical and cerebellar regions of mice. These results suggest that VPA and NaB exert protective effects against Mn toxicity seem in vitro are also shown in vivo. VPA and NaB pretreatment in mice enhancing astrocytic glutamate transporter GLT-1 expression as well as locomotor activities. Future research endeavors are warranted to determine if the therapeutic potential of VPA and NaB is via common molecular mechanism, namely, inhibition of histone deacetylases.