Wanderers' six-match unbeaten home record came to an end as Manchester United ran out 4-0 winners at the Reebok.
Jlloyd Samuel's unfortunate own goal on 38 minutes gave Manchester United a 1-0 lead at half-time.
It had been an evenly matched first half, but United showed why they are on course for a fourth successive title with a dominant display after the break.
Dimitar Berbatov claimed a brace and substitute Darron Gibson completed the scoring eight minutes from time.
Wanderers, buoyed by recent results at the Reebok, did start brightly.
The enrgetic Jack Wilshere dragged a shot wide and later delivered a testing free-kick from 30 yards out following Patrice Evra's trip on Kevin Davies.
In fact, the Arsenal loanee was heavily involved in the opening exchanges as he received a ticking off from referee Martin Atkinson when his determined challenge on Gary Neville was slightly mistimed.
Elmander brought a routine save out of Edwin van der Sar before United began to play themselves into the game.
Gary Cahill, making his first appearance in two months, was required to make a flicked defensive header from Antonio Valencia's cross on the opposite touchline, Sam Ricketts did well to stop Nani in his tracks and Johnny Evans fired over the bar having been presented with a half-chance by Darren Fletcher.
Paul Scholes' speculative volley from outside the box failed to test Jaaskelainen but Dimitar Bertatov's instinctive near post flick did force the Wanderers keeper into action as he turned the Bulgarian's effort behind for a corner.
Wanderers came out of United's attacking spell with the clean sheet still in tact, and on the back of that, almost took the lead with 26 minutes played.
It was Elmander who again brought a save out of van der Sar, but this time the Swedish striker's effort was much more ferocious than his earlier effort.
Wilshere found the run of the Swedish striker with a fine outside of the boot pass, and after taking a couple of touches, Elmander made the United keeper palm the ball around the post with a powerful attempt from a tight angle.
It looked it would be all-square heading into half-time, however seven minutes before the break the visitors went one goal ahead.
It was the unfortunate Jlloyd Samuel who put through his own net as he attempted to clear Ryan Giggs' inviting low cross.
Darren Fletcher failed to get a touch following his well-timed run into the penalty area, and Samuel inadvertently converted past Jaaskelainen.
Bolton's response was impressive and if it had not been for Van der Sar's heroics then the Whites would have been back level pegging.
Wilshere's intricate pass on the edge of the area reached Muamba, but the Dutchman somehow managed get his finger tip on the England U21 international's arrowing shot, preventing Muamba from notching in successive home matches.
But for a Berbatov slip, United looked likely to have doubled their lead just two minutes into the second-half.
Space opened up for the striker after he played a neat one-two with Fletcher, but just as he was about to unleash his shot from 12 yards out, Berbatov lost his footing and the chance was gone.
With just a one-goal deficit, Wanderers were always still in the game and their belief never wavered, especially with the supporters' vociferous backing.
Elmander again brought Van der Sar into the action with a long-range shot as the Whites enjoyed a sustained period of pressure without creating anything really clear cut.
But it was United that grabbed the crucial goal of the game midway through the second-half.
It stemmed through one of their renowned counter-attacks which started in midfield when Giggs played the ball into Fletcher.
The Scot's shot was parried by Jaaskelainen and Berbatov was first to react, slotting the rebound away to net in front of the travelling fans for the second consecutive season.
Owen Coyle introduced Ivan Klasnic and Matt Taylor as he sought a means reducing arrears but four minutes after the double substitution Wanderers hopes were ended as Berbatov netted his second of the game.
Nani dribbled in from the left, cut the ball back to the former Spurs forward, who produced another fine instinctive finish from six yards out.
And three became four a short time later when a not too dissimilar move, again involving the visitors' Portuguese winger, was converted by Gibson.
The substitute, who had only been on the field for a matter of minutes, needed help from the crossbar as he beat Jaaskelainen from just inside the area.
There was time for Muamba to try his luck from outside the area in the dying minutes, but there was no way past Van der Sar and United, who returned to the summit of the table with their 4-0 win.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Samuel, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Wilshere, Chung-Yong, Muamba, Cohen (Taylor 73), Elmander (Klasnic 73), Kevin Davies (Subs: Al Habsi, Riga, Mark Davies, O'Brien, Weiss)
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville, Evra, Berbatov, Giggs (Macheda 84), Vidic, Nani, Scholes (Carrick 73), Evans, Fletcher (Gibson 80), Valencia (Subs: Park, Rafael, Kuszczak, De Laet)