The relationships between the neurotoxicant manganese (Mn), dopaminergic pathology, and parkinsonism remain unclear. Therefore, we used [11C](N-methyl)benperidol (NMB) positron emission tomography to investigate the associations between Mn exposure, striatal and extrastriatal D2 dopamine receptors (D2R), and motor function in 54 workers with a range of Mn exposure. Cumulative Mn exposure was estimated from work histories, and all workers were examined by a movement specialist and completed a Grooved Pegboard test (GPT). NMB D2R nondisplaceable binding potentials (BPND) were calculated for brain regions of interest. We identified 2 principal components (PCs) in a PC analysis which explained 66.8% of the regional NMB BPND variance (PC1 = 55.4%; PC2 = 11.4%). PC1 was positively correlated with NMB binding in all regions and inversely correlated with age. PC2 was driven by NMB binding in 7 brain regions (all p <. 05), positively in the substantia nigra, thalamus, amygdala, and medial orbital frontal gyrus and negatively in the nucleus accumbens, anterior putamen, and caudate. PC2 was associated with both Mn exposure status and exposure duration (years). In addition, PC2 was associated with higher Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor subsection 3 (UPDRS3) scores and slower GPT performance. We conclude Mn exposure is associated with both striatal and extrastriatal D2R binding. Multifocal alterations in D2R expression are also associated with motor dysfunction as measured by both the GPT and UPDRS3, demonstrating a link between Mn exposure, striatal and extrastriatal D2R expression, and clinical neurotoxicity.
- D2 receptors