The diagnosis of manganese-induced parkinsonism

Neurotoxicology. 2006 May;27(3):340-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2005.10.006. Epub 2005 Dec 1.


Parkinsonism is a clinical syndrome consisting of tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, gait, balance problems, in addition to various non-motor symptoms. There are many causes of parkinsonism such as neurodegenerative disease, drugs, vascular causes, structural lesions, infections, and toxicants. Parkinson's disease, or idiopathic parkinsonism, is the most common form of parkinsonism observed in the clinic. There is degeneration of the substantia nigra, pars compacta, which results in loss of striatal dopamine. Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive condition in which there is a dramatic and sustained responsiveness to levodopa therapy. Manganese is an essential trace element that can be associated with neurotoxicity. Hypermanganism can occur in a variety of clinical settings. The clinical symptoms of manganese intoxication include non-specific complaints, neurobehavioral changes, parkinsonism, and dystonia. Although the globus pallidus is the main structure of damage, other basal ganglia areas can also be involved. MRI scans may show globus pallidus changes during (and for a short period after) exposure. Fluorodopa PET scans that assess the integrity of the substantia nigra dopaminergic system are abnormal in Parkinson's disease. However, these scans re-reported to be normal in a few cases studied with manganese-induced parkinsonism. The parkinsonism due to manganese may have some clinical features that occur less commonly in Parkinson's disease, such as kinetic tremor, dystonia, specific gait disturbances, and early mental, balance and speech changes. The clinical signs tend to be bilateral whereas Parkinson's disease begins on one side of the body. Patients with manganese-induced parkinsonism may be younger at the onset of the disease than with Parkinson's disease. Lastly, there appears to be a lack of response to levodopa therapy in manganese-induced parkinsonism. In summary it may be possible to differentiate manganese-induced parkinsonism from Parkinson's disease using clinical and imaging studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Manganese Poisoning / complications*
  • Manganese Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Manganese Poisoning / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / drug therapy
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / epidemiology


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Levodopa