In experimental animals, dietary manganese deficiency can result in numerous biochemical and structural abnormalities. Deficient animals can be characterized by impaired insulin production, alterations in lipoprotein metabolism, an impaired oxidant defense system, and perturbations in growth factor metabolism. If the deficiency occurs during early development, there can be pronounced skeletal abnormalities and an irreversible ataxia. Several lines of evidence suggest that manganese deficiency may be a problem in some human populations. Manganese toxicity can also pose a significant health risk. In experimental animals, acute manganese toxicity can result in numerous biochemical pathologies. However, the above occurs typically when the manganese is given via injection; most animals show considerable resistance to dietary manganese toxicosis. Similarly, confirmed cases of manganese toxicity in humans are currently restricted to cases of exposure to high levels of airborne manganese, and to cases when manganese excretory pathways are compromised.