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Nephron. 1993;64(1):75-81.

Renal function impairment in workers previously exposed to cadmium.

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Department of Occupational Medicine, Karolinska Hospital Stockholm, Sweden.


Cadmium-induced renal effects were followed (1989) in 16 workers previously exposed to cadmium, who had been shown 5 years earlier to have had tubular damage; all but 1 worker had persistent tubular damage (beta 2-microglobulin > 60 micrograms/mmol creatinine). The mean glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decreased from 77.3 to 71.7 ml/min/1.73 m2, which is 2.0 ml/min more than would have been expected from aging only. There was a negative correlation between loss of tubular function (relative clearance of beta 2-microglobulin) and the ratio of observed versus reference GFRs in accordance with a 1984 study. The results confirm that cadmium-induced tubular damage is irreversible. They also suggest that the glomerular dysfunction after cadmium exposure is irreversible and progressive also after exposure stops. A nonsignificant correlation was found between cumulative cadmium exposure and decreased GFR.

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