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Test Code MNB Manganese, Blood

Reporting Name

Manganese, B

Useful For

Evaluation of central nervous system symptoms similar to Parkinson disease in manganese miners and processors


Characterization of liver cirrhosis


Therapeutic monitoring in treatment of cirrhosis, parenteral nutrition-related Mn toxicity and environmental exposure to Mn


Evaluation of Behcet disease

Method Name

Dynamic Reaction Cell-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (DRC-ICP-MS)

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Specimen Type

Whole blood

Specimen Required

Container/Tube: Royal blue-top (EDTA) Vacutainer plastic trace element blood collection tube (T183)

Specimen Volume: 0.8 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. See Trace Metals Analysis Specimen Collection and Transport in Special Instructions for complete instructions.

2. Send specimen in original tube.

Additional Information:

1. High concentrations of gadolinium and iodine are known to interfere with most metals tests. If either gadolinium- or iodine-containing contrast media has been administered, a specimen should not be collected for 96 hours.

2. If ordering the trace element blood collection tube from BD, order catalog #368381.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Whole blood Refrigerated (preferred) 28 days
  Ambient  28 days
  Frozen  28 days

Reject Due To


Mild OK; Gross OK


Mild OK; Gross OK


Mild OK; Gross reject


Green-top (heparin) tube

Reference Values

4.7-18.3 ng/mL

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Tuesday, Friday; 8 a.m.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
MNB Manganese, B 5681-2


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
89120 Manganese, B 5681-2

Analytic Time

1 day


Contamination of the collection site and of the specimen must be avoided. In the case of environmental evaluation, do not collect specimens in the workplace. Failure to use metal-free collection procedures and devices may cause falsely increased results. See Specimen Required and Trace Metals Analysis Specimen Collection and Transport in Special Instructions for collection and processing information.

Method Description

Manganese (Mn) is analyzed using an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer with universal cell technology (UCT) operated in dynamic reaction cell (DRC) mode. Aqueous acidic calibrating standards, reagent blanks, quality control specimen, and patient specimens are diluted with aqueous acidic diluent containing internal standard. In turn, the dilutions are aspirated by a pneumatic high-pressure nebulizer driven by argon gas. The nebulized solutions suspended in the carrier argon gas stream are injected into a high temperature (6800 K) argon gas discharge (plasma). The plasma decomposes, atomizes, and ionizes the nebulized particles. All atoms, molecules, and ions formed in the discharge are extracted via a platinum orifice and enter the quadrapole ion deflector (QID) where only the ions are bent at a 90  angle and pass into a quadrapole with UCT. The quadrapole cell is filled with ammonia (NH3), which chemically reacts with the ion beam to remove polyatomic interferences and focus the beam into a quadrapole mass spectrometer. Mn ions are separated from the remaining concomitants by the quadrapole mass spectrometer allowing only Mn ions to collide with the instrument detector to produce a signal proportional to the bulk concentration of Mn in the sample and calculated by the instrument based upon a ratio with the internal standard gallium.


Whole blood levels above the normal range are indicative of manganism. Values between 1 and 2 times the upper limit of normal may be due to differences in hematocrit and normal biological variation, and should be interpreted with caution before concluding that hypermanganesemia is contributing to the disease process. Values greater than twice the upper limit of normal correlate with disease. For longitudinal monitoring, sampling no more frequently than the half-life of the element (40 days) should be used.

Specimen Retention Time

14 days

Clinical Information

Manganese (Mn) is a trace element that is an essential cofactor for several enzymes, including 1 form of superoxide dismutase and the gluconeogenic enzymes: pyruvate carboxylase and isocitrate dehydrogenase. It circulates in the serum as a metalloprotein complex with any of several proteins. The +2 and +3 states are of biological significance, but speciation in the analysis has not been studied sufficiently to determine its value. The required daily intake of 1 to 6 mg is readily supplied by a normal diet with a diverse mixture of fruits and vegetables.


Manganese ores and alloys are refined and used in the making of batteries, welding rods, and high-temperature refractory materials. Environmental exposure occurs from inhalation and ingestion of manganese-containing dust and fumes occurring from the refinement processes. It is likely that inhaled Mn is mobilized up the trachea and swallowed; uptake through the gut is inefficient, about 10%.


The major compartment for circulating Mn is the erythrocytes, bound to hemoglobin, with whole blood concentrations of Mn (in patients with normal levels) being 10 times that of the serum. Mn passes from the blood to the tissues quickly. Concentrations in the liver are highest, with 1 mg Mn/kg to 1.5 mg Mn/kg (wet weight) in normal individuals. The half-life of Mn in the body is about 40 days, with elimination primarily through the feces. Only small amounts are excreted in the urine.


Environmental sources of Mn can lead to toxicity. The primary sites of toxicity are the central nervous system (CNS) and the liver. Acute exposure to Mn fumes gives rise to symptoms common to many metal exposures including fever, dry mouth, and muscle pain. Chronic exposure of several months or more gives rise to CNS symptoms and rigidity, with increased scores on tremor testing and depression scales, as well as generalized parkinsonian features. Confined-space welders have been extensively studied because of their ongoing exposure to metal fumes, but the reported results are difficult to assign to any single metal as the origin of symptoms because of worksite variability, lack of adequate controls, and analytical issues.(1) Nevertheless, reports frequently describe significant increases in Mn levels in the whole blood (or erythrocytes) and in the CNS of these workers, with some evidence that circulating levels decrease following removal of individuals from sources of exposure.


The mechanism of Mn-induced neurotoxicity is not clear. While Parkinsonlike symptoms are found, the damage to nerve cells appears to be to the globus pallidus, while the nigrostriatal pathway (the focus of abnormality in Parkinson disease) is intact (although some claim it is dysfunctional). Increased levels of Mn in the CNS are not necessarily found in manganism, but this could be due to the use of inadequate analytical methodology. Animal studies, while plentiful and useful for pharmacokinetic modeling and possibly for studying mechanisms of hepatotoxicity, are of little value in extrapolation to CNS aberrations in humans because of species-to-species variability in absorption and distribution, and widely divergent psychological means of evaluation.(2)


Elevated levels of whole blood Mn have been reported, with and without CNS symptoms, in patients with hepatitis B virus-induced liver cirrhosis, in patients on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) with Mn supplementation, and in infants born to mothers who were on TPN. The studies in cirrhotic patients with extrapyramidal symptoms indicate a possible correlation between whole blood Mn and that measured by T1-weighted magnetic resonance in the globus pallidus and midbrain, with whole blood Mn levels being 2-fold or more, higher than normal. Increases in whole blood Mn over time may be indicative of future CNS effects. The data on TPN patients is based on anecdotes or small studies and is highly variable, as is that obtained in infants.(3)


Behcet disease, a form of chronic systemic vasculitis, has been reported to exhibit 4-fold increase in erythrocyte Mn and it is suggested that increased activity of superoxide dismutase may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.


Mn has been reported as a contaminant in "garage" preparations of the abused drug methcathinone. Continued use of the drug gives rise to CNS toxicity typical of manganism.(4)


Reports of suspected toxicity due to gustatory excess, even the drinking of large quantities of Mn-rich tea, may be dismissed as anecdotal and largely due to chance.


For monitoring therapy, whether of environmental exposure, TPN, or cirrhosis, whole blood levels have been shown to correlate well with neuropsychological improvement, although whether the laboratory changes precede the CNS or merely track with them is unclear as yet. It is recommended that both CNS functional testing and laboratory evaluation be used to monitor therapy of these patients. Long-term monitoring of Behcet disease has not been reported, and it is not known if the Mn levels respond to therapy.

Test Classification

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Gastroenterology and Hepatology Test Request Form (T728) with the specimen (