Suckling rats were exposed for 15 and 30 days to manganese through the milk of nursing dams receiving 15 mg MnCl/sub 2/.4H/sub 2/O/kg/day orally and after which the neurological manifestations of metal poisoning were studied. No significant differences in the growth rate, developmental landmarks and walking movements were observed between the control and manganese-exposed pups. The metal concentration was significantly increased in the brain of manganese-fed pups at 15 days and exhibited a further three-fold increase over the control, at 30 days. The accumulation of the metal in the brain of manganese-exposed nursing dams was comparatively much less. A significant decrease in succinic dehydrogenase, adenosine triphosphatase, adenosine deaminase, acetylcholine esterase and an increase in monoamine oxidase activity was observed in the brain of experimental pups and dams. The results suggest that the developing brain may also be susceptible to manganese.