Arterial structure and function and environmental exposure to cadmium

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Few studies have addressed the effect of cadmium toxicity on arterial properties.


We investigated the possible association of 24 h urinary cadmium excretion (an index of lifetime exposure) with measures of arterial function in a randomly selected population sample (n = 557) from two rural areas with low and high environmental exposure to cadmium.


24 h urinary cadmium excretion was significantly higher in the high compared with the low exposure group (p<0.001). Even though systolic (p = 0.42), diastolic (p = 0.14) and mean arterial pressure (p = 0.68) did not differ between the high and low exposure groups, aortic pulse wave velocity (p = 0.008), brachial pulse pressure (p = 0.026) and femoral pulse pressure (p = 0.008) were significantly lower in the high exposure group. Additionally, femoral distensibility (p<0.001) and compliance (p = 0.001) were significantly higher with high exposure. Across quartiles of 24 h urinary cadmium excretion (adjusted for sex and age), brachial (p for trend = 0.015) and femoral (p for trend = 0.018) pulse pressure significantly decreased and femoral distensibility (p for trend = 0.008) and compliance (p for trend = 0.007) significantly increased with higher cadmium excretion. After full adjustment, the partial regression coefficients confirmed these associations. Pulse wave velocity (β = −0.79±0.27; p = 0.004) and carotid (β = −4.20±1.51; p = 0.006), brachial (β = −5.43±1.41; p = 0.001) and femoral (β = −4.72±1.74; p = 0.007) pulse pressures correlated negatively, whereas femoral compliance (β = 0.11±0.05; p = 0.016) and distensibility (β = 1.70±0.70; p = 0.014) correlated positively with cadmium excretion.


Increased cadmium body burden is associated with lower aortic pulse wave velocity, lower pulse pressure throughout the arterial system, and higher femoral distensibility.

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