Manganese intoxication decreases the expression of manganoproteins in the rat basal ganglia: An immunohistochemical study

M. Morello, P. Zatta, P. Zambenedetti, A. Martorana, V. D'Angelo, G. Melchiorri, G. Bernardi, G. Sancesario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Manganese (Mn) is a cofactor for some metalloprotein enzymes, including Mn-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), a mitochondrial enzyme predominantly localized in neurons, and glutamine synthetase (GS), which is selectively expressed in astroglial cells. The detoxifying effects of GS and Mn-SOD in the brain, involve catabolizing glutamate and scavenging superoxide anions, respectively. Mn intoxication is characterized by impaired function of the basal ganglia. However, it is unclear whether regional central nervous system expression of manganoproteins is also affected. Here, we use immunocytochemistry in the adult rat brain, to examine whether Mn overload selectively affects the expression of GS, Mn-SOD, Cu/Zn-SOD, another component of the SOD family, and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), a specific marker of astrocytes. After chronic Mn overload in drinking water for 13 weeks, we found that the number and immunostaining intensity of GS- and Mn-SOD-positive cells was significantly decreased in the striatum and globus pallidus, but not in the cerebral frontal cortex. In addition, we found that GS enzymatic activity was decreased in the strio-pallidal regions but not in the cerebral cortex of Mn-treated animals. In contrast, Cu/Zn-SOD- and GFAP-immunoreactivity was unchanged in both the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia of Mn-treated rats. Thus, we conclude that in response to chronic Mn overload, a down-regulation of some manganoproteins occurs in neurons and astrocytes of the striatum and globus pallidus, probably reflecting the vulnerability of these regions to Mn toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-415
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2007


  • Astrocytes
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Cu/Zn-SOD
  • Cytochemistry
  • Globus pallidus
  • Glutamate toxicity
  • Glutamine synthetase
  • Mn-SOD
  • Striatum
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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