alexa Mechanisms of Heavy Metal Neurotoxicity: Lead and Manganese
ISSN: 2157-7609

Journal of Drug Metabolism & Toxicology
Open Access

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Special Issue Article

Mechanisms of Heavy Metal Neurotoxicity: Lead and Manganese

April P. Neal1 and Tomás R. Guilarte2*

1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

2Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, Room 1105-E, New York, NY 10032, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Tomás R Guilarte
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University
722 West 168th Street
Room 1105-E, New York
NY 10032
Tel: 212-305-3959
Fax: 212-305- 3857
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: July 07, 2011; Accepted Date: April 11, 2012; Published Date: April 14, 2012

Citation: Neal AP, Guilarte TR (2012) Mechanisms of Heavy Metal Neurotoxicity: Lead and Manganese. J Drug Metab Toxicol S5:002. doi: 10.4172/2157-7609.S5-002

Copyright: © 2012 Neal AP, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Human exposure to heavy metals is a global public health problem. Heavy metals which cause neurological toxicity, such as lead (Pb2+) and manganese (Mn), are of particular concern due to the long-lasting and possibly irreversible nature of their effects. Pb2+ exposure in childhood can result in cognitive and behavioral deficits in children. These effects are long-lasting and persist into adulthood even after Pb2+ exposure has been reduced or eliminated. While Mn is an essential element of the human diet and serves many cellular functions in the human body, elevated Mn levels can result in a Parkinson’s disease (PD)-like syndrome and developmental Mn exposure can adversely affect childhood neurological development. Due to the ubiquitous presence of both metals, reducing human exposure to toxic levels of Mn and Pb2+ remains a world-wide public health challenge. In this review we summarize the toxicokinetics of Pb2+ and Mn, describe their neurotoxic mechanisms, and discuss common themes in heavy metal toxicology.


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