Olfactory uptake of manganese requires DMT1 and is enhanced by anemia.


Thompson K, Molina RM, Donaghey T, Schwob JE, Brain JD, Wessling-Resnick M. Olfactory uptake of manganese requires DMT1 and is enhanced by anemia. FASEB Journal 2007;21(1):223-230.


Manganese, an essential nutrient, can also elicit toxicity in the central nervous system (CNS). The route of exposure strongly influences the potential neurotoxicity of manganese-containing compounds. Recent studies suggest that inhaled manganese can enter the rat brain through the olfactory system, but little is known about the molecular factors involved. Divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1) is the major transporter responsible for intestinal iron absorption and its expression is regulated by body iron status. To examine the potential role of this transporter in uptake of inhaled manganese, we studied the Belgrade rat, since these animals display significant defects in both iron and manganese metabolism due to a glycine-to-arginine substitution (G185R) in their DMT1 gene product. Absorption of intranasally instilled 54Mn was significantly reduced in Belgrade rats and was enhanced in iron-deficient rats compared to iron-sufficient controls. Immunohistochemical experiments revealed that DMT1 was localized to both the lumen microvilli and end feet of the sustentacular cells of the olfactory epithelium. Importantly, we found that DMT1 protein levels were increased in anemic rats. The apparent function of DMT1 in olfactory manganese absorption suggests that the neurotoxicity of the metal can be modified by iron status due to the iron-responsive regulation of the transporter.