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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2000 May 1;164(3):231-49.

Evidence that E-cadherin may be a target for cadmium toxicity in epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street, Downers Grove, Illinois, 60515, USA.


E-cadherin is a Ca(2+)-dependent cell adhesion molecule that plays an important role in the development and maintenance of epithelial polarity and barrier function. This commentary describes the results of recent studies showing that the environmental pollutant Cd(2+) can damage the E-cadherin-dependent junctions between many types of epithelial cells and reviews the evidence indicating that this effect results from the direct interaction of Cd(2+) with the E-cadherin molecule. In addition, the implications of these findings with respect to the mechanisms of Cd(2+) toxicity in specific target organs such as lung, kidney, bone, and the vascular endothelium are discussed.

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