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Environ Res. 2012 Jan;112:164-70. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Early life low-level cadmium exposure is positively associated with increased oxidative stress.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Environmental exposure to cadmium (Cd) is known to induce oxidative stress, a state of imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the ability to detoxify them, in adults. However, data are lacking on potential effects in early-life. We evaluated urinary concentrations of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG), a recognized marker of oxidative DNA damage, in relation to Cd exposure in 96 predominantly breast-fed infants (11-17 weeks of age) in rural Bangladesh. Urinary 8-oxodG was measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and Cd in urine and breast milk by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Median concentration of 8-oxodG was 3.9 nmol/L, urinary Cd 0.30 μg/L, and breast-milk Cd 0.13 μg/L. In linear regression analyses, urinary 8-oxodG was positively associated with Cd in both urine (p=0.00067) and breast milk (p=0.0021), and negatively associated with body weight (kg; p=0.0041). Adjustment for age, body weight, socio-economic status, urinary arsenic, as well as magnesium, calcium, and copper in breast milk did not change the association between Cd exposure and urinary 8-oxodG. These findings suggest that early-life low-level exposure to Cd via breast milk induces oxidative stress. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether this oxidative stress is associated with impaired child health and development.

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