Prenatal Mn Exposures

Prenatal Manganese Exposure & Concentration and Transfer to Developing Fetus


JUN 1999 – Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria

Trace Element Transfer from the Mother to the Newborn – Investigations on Triplets of Colostrum, Maternal and Umbilical Cord Sera

“Objective: To investigate the trace element transfer from the mother to the newborn.”

Summary statement: “Umbilical cord serum concentrations of Ca, Mn, and Zn were 120%, 150% and 148% of the maternal value, respectively.”


2007 – Crinella, FM, Ericson, JE, et al, University of California, Irvine, CA

Prenatal Manganese Levels Linked to Childhood Behavioral Disinhibition

“[F]ood is the major source of absorbed Mn in the general population, and certain groups, such as neonates and infants, are more vulnerable than adults to Mn via intestinal absorption. In the young rodent, intestinal absorption of Mn is on the order of 70%, compared to the 1-2% in the adult rat; further, Mn enters the neonatal brain at a much higher rate than in adult animals.”

“With respect to prenatal exposure, Mn concentrations in umbilical cord blood have been found to be 33% to 50% higher than in maternal blood, suggesting not only an active transport system, but also a concentrating mechanism.”

“These findings suggest that prenatal accretion of Mn, as reflected in tooth enamel deposits dating to the 20th gestation week, is significantly associated with childhood behavioral outcomes. Children with higher levels of prenatal manganese were more impulsive, inattentive, aggressive, defiant, disobedient, destructive and hyperactive.”

Summary statement: “The significance of this study is that it suggests a link between fetal Mn exposure and later behavioral disinhibition. The fact that several statistically significant associations have been shown, all in a direction consistent with existing literature on behavioral effects of Mn exposure, supports the potential importance of this method and points to a need for prospective studies of larger populations.”


2009 – Department of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Manganese and Birth Outcome

“The effects of manganese intake and status on fetal development and birth outcome have been an area of interest in animal studies by nutritional toxicologists, but the literature on the relationship between manganese status and pregnancy outcomes in humans is very sparse. However, this is an area of potential public health interest because high manganese exposure during pregnancy may have toxic effects on the developing fetus.”

“Iron deficiency, a global nutritional problem, particularly among women of reproductive age, is a potential risk factor for manganese toxicity when intestinal manganese exposure is high.”

“Sensitive biomarkers of manganese exposure and nutritional status are not available.”

Summary statement: “Unfortunately, our ability to answer these questions, given our current state of knowledge of maternal and fetal manganese handling, is limited. Additional research in this area of trace mineral physiology and nutrition, as well as additional epidemiologic research related to the role of manganese exposure in birth outcome, appear to be warranted and, hopefully, will be encouraged by these new studies.”