Gut microbiota as a potential player in mn-induced neurotoxicity

Alexey A. Tinkov, Airton C. Martins, Daiana Silva Avila, Victor A. Gritsenko, Anatoly V. Skalny, Abel Santamaria, Eunsook Lee, Aaron B. Bowman, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal, which at high exposures causes neurotoxic effects and neurodegeneration. The neurotoxic effects of Mn are mediated by neuroinflammation, oxida-tive and endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other mechanisms. Recent findings have demonstrated the potential impact of Mn overexposure on gut microbiota dysbiosis, which is known to contribute to neurodegeneration via secretion of neuroactive and proinflammatory metabolites. Therefore, in this review, we discuss the existing data on the impact of Mn exposure on gut microbiota biodiversity, bacterial metabolite production, and gut wall permeability regulating systemic levels. Recent data have demonstrated that Mn exposure may affect gut microbiota biodiversity by altering the abundance of Shiegella, Ruminococcus, Dorea, Fusicatenibacter, Roseburia, Parabacteroides, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Ruminococcaceae, Streptococcaceae, and other bacterial phyla. A Mn-induced increase in Bacteroidetes abundance and a reduced Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio may increase lipopolysaccharide levels. Moreover, in addition to increased systemic lipopolysac-charide (LPS) levels, Mn is capable of potentiating LPS neurotoxicity. Due to the high metabolic activity of intestinal microflora, Mn-induced perturbations in gut microbiota result in a significant alteration in the gut metabolome that has the potential to at least partially mediate the biological effects of Mn overexposure. At the same time, a recent study demonstrated that healthy microbiome transplantation alleviates Mn-induced neurotoxicity, which is indicative of the significant role of gut microflora in the cascade of Mn-mediated neurotoxicity. High doses of Mn may cause enterocyte toxicity and affect gut wall integrity through disruption of tight junctions. The resulting increase in gut wall permeability further promotes increased translocation of LPS and neuroactive bacterial metabolites to the systemic blood flow, ultimately gaining access to the brain and leading to neu-roinflammation and neurotransmitter imbalance. Therefore, the existing data lead us to hypothesize that gut microbiota should be considered as a potential target of Mn toxicity, although more detailed studies are required to characterize the interplay between Mn exposure and the gut, as well as its role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration and other diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1292
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Bacterial metabolites
  • Gut microbiome
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Manganese
  • Neurotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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