Low-Level Environmental Cadmium Exposure Induces Kidney Tubule Damage in the General Population of Korean Adults

Low-Level Environmental Cadmium Exposure Induces Kidney Tubule Damage in the General Population of Korean Adults
박경수Sang-Yong EomMi-Na SeoYoung-Sub LeeYoung-Seoub HongSeok-Joon SohnYong-Dae KimByung-Sun ChoiJi-Ae LimHo-Jang KwonHeon KimJung-Duck Park
Issue Date
Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology
VOL 73, NO 3-409
Cadmium (Cd) is the most potent nephrotoxic heavy metal and may affect bone; it also has a long biological half-life in the human body. This study was designed to assess the effect of environmental low-level Cd exposure on kidney function and bone in the general population. The subjects of this cross-sectional study were 1907 healthy Korean adults who had not been exposed to Cd occupationally. We analyzed the concentrations of Cd in the urine, markers of renal tubule damage, such as beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)-MG) and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) activity in the urine, calculated the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using serum creatinine, and measured bone mineral density (BMD). Also, we analyzed malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in the urine. The geometric mean concentration of Cd in urine was higher in women (1.36 mu g/g creatinine) than in men (0.82 mu g/g creatinine). Urinary Cd was significantly positively correlated with urinary beta(2)-MG and NAG activity, whereas it was negatively correlated with eGFR and BMD. The risk of renal tubule damage was significantly associated with urine Cd level, and the association remained significant after controlling for various confounding variables. However, no association was observed between urinary Cd level and glomerular dysfunction or bone damage. The concentration of MDA was increased with urinary Cd level in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that low-level environmental Cd exposure may cause microscopic damage to renal tubules through oxidative stress but might not impair kidney glomeruli or bones.
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