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Environ Health Perspect. 1984 Mar;54:213-8.

Chelating agents and cadmium toxicity: problems and prospects.


Symptoms and signs in humans after excessive exposure to cadmium usually involve the gastrointestinal tract after single oral intake, the lung after acute inhalation, and the kidney after long-term exposure. These organs are usually considered to be the "critical" organs, i.e., the organs most sensitive at a certain type of exposure. The type of Cd-related damage that is most common in humans is probably the renal toxicity after long-term exposure. Most animal experiments, including the most recently published ones, have involved study of gross toxicity and tissue distribution after injection of cadmium in acute experiments. The observations in the older literature that the influence of chelating agents on Cd distribution and excretion is confined to the early period after acute Cd exposure has been confirmed and extended, and the relationship to the time course of metallothionein synthesis has been demonstrated. Although the injection experiments concerning cadmium distribution, particularly those employing repeated exposure, may furnish information that can form a basis for speculation about long-term toxicity to the kidney, there is a lack of direct studies in animals of possible beneficial effects of chelating agents on renal toxicity of cadmium after prolonged exposure. Among the few studies reported, either an increased renal toxicity or a lack of influence on renal toxicity has been observed. The problems in finding a treatment scheme that can be beneficial for the renal toxicity resulting from long-term cadmium exposure thus remain; however, the prospects of finding such schemes in the future seem favorable in view of some of the recent observations.

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