Spatial distribution of manganese in enamel and coronal dentine of human primary teeth

Manish Arora, Dominic Hare, Christine Austin, Donald R. Smith, Philip Doble

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67 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence indicates that excessive exposure to manganese (Mn) during the prenatal period and early childhood may result in neurodevelopmental deficits. However, accurate exposure biomarkers are not well established, limiting our understanding of exposure-response relationships over these susceptible periods of development. Naturally shed deciduous teeth are potentially a useful biomarker of environmental exposure to Mn. However, the uptake and distribution of Mn in human teeth has not been studied in detail. Mn distribution was measured at high resolution (~. 20 μm) in eight human primary teeth using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. A bio-imaging methodology was applied to construct detailed elemental maps of three incisors, and bone meal (NIST SRM 1486) was used to validate the analyses. The distribution of Mn in enamel and coronal dentine showed a distinct and reproducible pattern. In enamel, the 55Mn:43Ca ratio was highest at the outer edge of enamel (range=0.57 to 4.74) for approximately 20-40μm but was substantially lower in deeper layers (range=0.005 to 0.013). The highest levels of Mn were observed in dentine immediately adjacent the pulpal margin (55Mn:43Ca range=2.27 to 6.95). Importantly, a clearly demarcated high Mn zone was observed in dentine at the incisal end of the teeth. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy to visualize the neonatal line, this region was identified as being in the prenatally formed dentine. The high-resolution map of the spatial distribution of Mn in human primary teeth highlighted specific reproducible patterns of Mn distribution in enamel and coronal dentine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1319
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-imaging
  • Dentine
  • Enamel
  • Laser ablation
  • Manganese


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