PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Manganese (Mn) is critical for neurodevelopment but also has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurological diseases. We discuss how Mn requirements intersect with Mn biology and toxicity, and how these requirements may be altered in neurological disease. Furthermore, we discuss the emerging evidence that the level of Mn associated with optimal overall efficiency for Mn biology does not necessarily coincide with optimal cognitive outcomes.
RECENT FINDINGS - Studies have linked Mn exposures with urea cycle metabolism and autophagy, with evidence that exposures typically neurotoxic may be able to correct deficiencies in these processes at least short term. The line between Mn-dependent biology and toxicity is thus blurred. Further, new work suggests that Mn exposures correlating to optimal cognitive scores in children are associated with cognitive decline in adults. This review explores relationships between Mn-dependent neurobiology and Mn-dependent neurotoxicity. We propose the hypothesis that Mn levels/exposures that are toxic to some biological processes are beneficial for other biological processes and influenced by developmental stage and disease state.