STILLWATER, Okla.—Faculty, staff, students and guests gathered in McElroy Hall Auditorium, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, to hear the 2008 Sitlington Lecture in Toxicology. Michael Aschner, Ph.D., presented “Manganese Neurotoxicity: From Worms to Neonates.”
According to Aschner, manganese is required for many processes within the body such as the metabolism of proteins and fats, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting blood clotting. Some people, e.g. welders, have particularly high exposures to manganese. However, through his research, he has learned that high levels of manganese can destroy dopamine containing neurons that alter nervous system function. Changes can occur including loss of olfactory senses and decreased motor function similar to changes seen in Parkinson’s disease.
Aschner is the Gray E. B. Stahlman Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The Sitlington Lecture in Toxicology is hosted by Dr. Carey Pope, Regents Professor, Head of the Physiological Sciences Department and Sitlington Chair in Toxicology.