Biomarkers of cadmium, lead and mercury exposure in relation with early biomarkers of renal dysfunction and diabetes: Results from a pilot study among aging Canadians Academic Article uri icon

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  • Cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) are known nephrotoxicants that have been associated with the risk of developing type-2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of this pilot study was to explore relations between biomarkers of Cd, Pb and Hg exposure, early urinary biomarkers of renal dysfunction (kidney-injured molecule-1 (KIM-1), N-acetylglucosaminidase and retinol-binding protein (RBP)) and plasma biomarkers deemed predictive of the risk of developing T2D (adiponectin, leptin, branched-chain and aromatic amino acids), among 70 participants (age range: (46-87 yrs)) from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) with normal glycemic control (glycated haemoglobin ≤ 6.5%) in all but four of them. Significant (p < 0.05) Spearman correlation coefficients were obtained between: plasma adiponectin and RBP (r = 0.42), urinary Cd (r = 0.32), blood Cd (r = 0.36); KIM-1 and CdU (r = 0.33) as well as HgU (r = 0.37); RBP and isoleucine (r = -0.28), leucine (r = -0.33), tyrosine (r = -0.3) and valine (r = -0.44); CdU and isoleucine and valine (r = -0.27 for both). Multiple linear regression analyses showed that some T2D-related biomarkers are confounders of associations between RBP and Hg or Cd biomarkers. Path analyses support a mediating effect of adiponectin on the relation between urinary Cd and RBP. Concluding, this pilot study originally investigated a comprehensive set of biomarkers on complex interactions between toxic metal exposure, renal function and T2D in a group of aging Canadians. Its findings warrant further investigation of longitudinal data in a greater number of participants.


  • Valcke, Mathieu
  • Ouellet, Nathalie
  • Dubé, Marjolaine
  • Laouan Sidi, Elhadji A
  • LeBlanc, Alain
  • Normandin, Louise
  • Balion, Cynthia
  • Ayotte, Pierre

publication date

  • September 2019