Abstract γ-spectrometry and autoradiography were used to examine the axoplasmic flow of manganese in the olfactory nerves and to study the uptake of the metal in the brain after application of 54Mn2+ in the olfactory chambers of pikes. The results show that the 54Mn2+ is taken up in the olfactory receptor cells and is transported at a constant rate along the primary olfactory neurones into the brain. The maximal velocity for the transported 54Mn2+ was 2.90±0.21 mm/hr (mean±S.E.) at 10°, which was the temperature used in the experiments. The 54Mn2+ accumulated in the entire olfactory bulbs, although most marked in central and caudal parts. The metal was also seen to migrate into large areas of the telencephalon, apparently mainly via the secondary olfactory axons present in the medial olfactory tract. A transfer along fibres of the medial olfactory tract probably also explains the labelling which was seen in the diencephalon down to the hypothalamus. The results also showed that there is a pathway connecting the two olfactory bulbs of the pike and that this can carry the metal. Our data further showed a marked accumulation of 54Mn2+ in the meningeal epithelium and in the contents of the meningeal sacs surrounding the olfactory bulbs. It appears from our study that manganese has the ability to pass the synaptic junctions between the primary and the secondary olfactory neurones in the olfactory bulbs and to migrate along secondary olfactory pathways into the telencephalon and the diencephalon. Manganese is a neurotoxic metal which in man can induce an extrapyramidal motor system dysfunction associated with occupational inhalation of manganese-containing dusts or fumes. We propose on basis of our results that the neurotoxicity of inhaled manganese may be related to an uptake of the metal into the brain via the olfactory neurones. The manganese can thereby circumvent the blood-brain barrier and gain direct access to the central nervous system.