To determine the effects of dietary Fe concentration on Mn bioavailability in rats fed inorganic or organic Mn sources, fifty-four 22-d-old male rats were randomly assigned and fed a basal diet (2·63 mg Fe/kg) supplemented with 0 (low Fe (L-Fe)), 35 (adequate Fe (A-Fe)) or 175 (high Fe (H-Fe)) mg Fe/kg with 10 mg Mn/kg from MnSO4 or Mn–lysine chelate (MnLys). Tissues were harvested after 21 d of feeding. Serum Mn was greater (P<0·05) in MnLys rats than in MnSO4 rats, and in L-Fe rats than in A-Fe or H-Fe rats. Duodenal divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1) mRNA was lower (P<0·05) in H-Fe rats than in A-Fe rats for the MnSO4 treatment; however, no significant difference was observed between them for MnLys. Liver DMT1 mRNA abundance was greater (P<0·05) in MnSO4 than in the MnLys group for H-Fe rats. The DMT1 protein in duodenum and liver and ferroportin 1 (FPN1) protein in liver was greater (P<0·05) in the MnSO4 group than in the MnLys group, and in L-Fe rats than in H-Fe rats. Duodenal FPN1 protein was greater (P<0·05) in L-Fe rats than in A-Fe rats for the MnLys treatment, but it was not different between them for the MnSO4 treatment. Results suggest that MnLys increased serum Mn concentration as compared with MnSO4 in rats irrespective of dietary Fe concentration, which was not because of the difference in DMT1 and FPN1 expression in the intestine and liver.