Iron and manganese homeostasis in chronic liver disease: Relationship to pallidal T1-weighted magnetic resonance signal hyperintensity

E. A. Malecki, A. G. Devenyi, T. F. Barron, T. J. Mosher, P. Eslinger, C. V. Flaherty- Craig, Lorenzo Rossaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The hyperintense signal in the globus pallidus of cirrhotic patients on T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been postulated to arise from deposition of paramagnetic manganese2+ (Mn). Intestinal absorption of both iron and Mn are increased in iron deficiency; iron deficiency may therefore increase susceptibility to Mn neurotoxicity. To investigate the relationships between MR signal abnormalities and Mn and Fe status, 21 patients with chronic liver disease were enrolled (alcoholic liver disease, 5; primary biliary cirrhosis, 9; primary sclerosing cholangitis, 3; hepatitis B virus, 2; hepatitis C virus, 1; α1-antitrypsin deficiency, 1). Signal hyperintensity in the pallidum on axial T1 weighted images (repetition time/evolution time: 500 ms/15 ms) was observed in 13 of 21 subjects: four patients had mild hyperintensity, three moderate, and six exhibited marked hyperintensity. Erythrocyte Mn concentrations were positively correlated with the degree of the MR hyperintensity (Kendall's tau-b = 0.52, P < 0.005). The log of erythrocyte Mn concentration was also inversely correlated with all measures of iron status: hemoglobin (Pearson's R = -0.73, P < 0.0005); hematocrit (R = -0.62, P < 0.005); serum Fe concentrations (R = -0.65, P < 0.005), and TIBC saturation (R = -0.62, P < 0.005). These findings confirm the association of Mn with the development of pallidal hyperintensity in patients with liver disease. We further found that iron deficiency is an exacerbating factor, probably because of increased intestinal absorption of Mn. We therefore recommend that patients with chronic liver disease avoid Mn supplements without concurrent iron supplementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-652
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholic Liver Disease
  • Globus Pallidus
  • Neurological Symptoms
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
  • TIBC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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