The association of bone and blood manganese with motor function in Chinese workers

Danelle Rolle-McFarland, Yingzi Liu, Farshad Mostafaei, S. Elizabeth Zauber, Yuanzhong Zhou, Yan Li, Quiyan Fan, Wei Zheng, Linda H. Nie, Ellen M. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Manganese (Mn) is an essential element. However, Mn overexposure is associated with motor dysfunction. This cross-sectional study assessed the association between bone Mn (BnMn) and whole blood Mn (BMn) with motor function in 59 Chinese workers. BnMn and BMn were measured using a transportable in vivo neutron activation analysis system and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, respectively. Motor function (manual coordination, postural sway, postural hand tremor, and fine motor function) was assessed using the Coordination Ability Test System (CATSYS) and the Purdue Pegboard. Relationships between Mn biomarkers and motor test scores were analyzed with linear regression models adjusted for age, education, current employment, and current alcohol consumption. BMn was significantly inversely associated with hand tremor intensity (dominant hand (β=-0.04, 95 % confidence interval (CI):-0.07, -0.01; non-dominant hand β=-0.05, 95 % CI:-0.08, -0.01) hand tremor center frequency (non-dominant hand β=-1.61, 95 % CI:-3.03, -0.19) and positively associated with the Purdue Pegboard Assembly Score (β = 4.58, 95 % CI:1.08, 8.07). BnMn was significantly inversely associated with finger-tapping performance (non-dominant hand β=-0.02, 95 % CI:-0.04,-0.004), mean sway (eyes closed and foam β=-0.68, 95 % CI:-1.31,-0.04), and positively associated with hand tremor center frequency (dominant hand, β = 0.40, 95 % CI:0.002, 0.80). These results suggest BMn is related to better postural hand tremor and fine motor control and BnMn is related to worse motor coordination and postural hand tremor but better (i.e., less) postural sway. The unexpected positive results might be explained by choice of biomarker or confounding by work-related motor activities. Larger, longitudinal studies in this area are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Manganese
  • Metal workers
  • Movement disorders
  • motor skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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