Background: Manganese (Mn) exposure is associated with increased T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal in the basal ganglia. T1 signal intensity has been correlated with occupational Mn exposure but not with clinical symptomatology or neuropathology. Objectives: This study investigated predictors of ex vivo T1 MRI basal ganglia signal intensity in neuropathologic tissue obtained from deceased South African mine workers. Methods: A 3.0. T MRI was performed on ex vivo brain tissue obtained from 19 Mn mine workers and 10 race- and sex-matched mine workers of other commodities. Basal ganglia regions of interest were identified for each subject with T1-weighted intensity indices generated for each region. In a pathology subset, regional T1 indices were compared to neuronal and glial cell density and tissue metal concentrations. Results: Intensity indices were higher in Mn mine workers than non-Mn mine workers for the globus pallidus, caudate, anterior putamen, and posterior putamen with the highest values in subjects with the longest cumulative Mn exposure. Intensity indices were inversely correlated with the neuronal cell density in the caudate (p=. 0.040) and putamen (p=. 0.050). Tissue Mn concentrations were similar in Mn and non-Mn mine workers. Tissue iron (Fe) concentration trended lower across all regions in Mn mine workers. Conclusions: Mn mine workers demonstrated elevated basal ganglia T1 indices when compared to non-Mn mine workers. Predictors of ex vivo T1 MRI signal intensity in Mn mine workers include duration of Mn exposure and neuronal density.
- Ex vivo