Manganese, an essential trace metal, is supplied to the brain via both the blood-brain and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers. There are some mechanisms in this process and transferrin may be involved in manganese transport into the brain. A large portion of manganese is bound to manganese metalloproteins, especially glutamine synthetase in astrocytes. A portion of manganese probably exists in the synaptic vesicles in glutamatergic neurons and the manganese is dynamically coupled to the electrophysiological activity of the neurons. Manganese released into the synaptic cleft may influence synaptic neurotransmission. Dietary manganese deficiency, which may enhance susceptibility to epileptic functions, appears to affect manganese homeostasis in the brain, probably followed by alteration of neural activity. On the other hand, manganese also acts as a toxicant to the brain because this metal has prooxidant activity. Abnormal concentrations of manganese in the brain, especially in the basal ganglia, are associated with neurological disorders similar to Parkinson's disease. Understanding the movement and action of manganese in synapses may be important to clarify the function and toxicity of manganese in the brain.