Diffusion abnormalities of the globi pallidi in manganese neurotoxicity

Neuroradiology. 2004 Apr;46(4):291-5. doi: 10.1007/s00234-004-1179-1. Epub 2004 Mar 25.


Manganese is an essential trace metal required for normal central nervous system function, which is toxic when in excess amounts in serum. Manganese neurotoxicity has been demonstrated in patients with chronic liver/biliary failure where an inability to excrete manganese via the biliary system causes increased serum levels, and in patients on total parenteral nutrition (TPN), occupational/inhalational exposure, or other source of excess exogenous manganese. Manganese has been well described in the literature to deposit selectively in the globi pallidi and to induce focal neurotoxicity. We present a case of a 53-year-old woman who presented for a brain MR 3 weeks after liver transplant due to progressively decreasing level of consciousness. The patient had severe liver failure by liver function tests and bilirubin levels, and had also been receiving TPN since the transplant. The MR demonstrated symmetric hyperintensity on T1-weighted images in the globi pallidi. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) map indicated restricted diffusion in the globi pallidi bilaterally. The patient eventually succumbed to systemic aspergillosis 3 days after the MR. The serum manganese level was 195 mcg/l (micrograms per liter) on postmortem exam (over 20 times the upper limits of normal). The patient was presumed to have suffered from manganese neurotoxicity since elevated serum manganese levels have been shown in the literature to correlate with hyperintensity on T1-weighted images, neurotoxicity symptoms, and focal concentration of manganese in the globi pallidi. Neuropathologic sectioning of the globi pallidi at autopsy was also consistent with manganese neurotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Manganese / adverse effects*
  • Manganese / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / adverse effects*


  • Manganese