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Int J Epidemiol. 2015 Feb;44(1):240-8.

Nickel exposure is associated with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Chinese adults.



Nickel exposure can induce hyperglycaemia in rodents, but little is known about its association with abnormal glucose metabolism in humans. We aimed to investigate the association of nickel exposure with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Chinese adults.


A total of 2115 non-institutionalized men and women aged 55 to 76 years from Beijing and Shanghai were included, and urinary nickel concentration was assessed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was compared across urinary nickel quartiles. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, lipids, C-reactive protein and glycated haemoglobin A1c, as well as urinary albumin and creatinine were measured.


The median concentration of urinary nickel was 3.63 mg/l (interquartile range: 2.29–5.89 mg/l), and the prevalence of diabetes was 35.3% (747 cases/2115 persons). Elevated levels of urinary nickel were associated with higher fasting glucose, glycated haemoglobin A1c, insulin and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (all P<0.01). The odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for diabetes across the increasing urinary nickel quartiles were 1.27 (0.97–1.67), 1.78 (1.36–2.32) and 1.68 (1.29–2.20), respectively (referencing to 1.00), after multivariate adjustment including lifestyle factors, body mass index and family history of diabetes (P for trend <0.001). The association remained unchanged after further controlling for urinary creatinine and C-reactive protein (P for trend <0.001).


Increased urinary nickel concentration is associated with elevated prevalence of type 2 diabetes in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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