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1.  Cadmium Stress Disrupts the Endomembrane Organelles and Endocytosis during Picea wilsonii Pollen Germination and Tube Growth 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94721.
As one of the most severe pollutants, cadmium has been reported to be harmful to plant cells, but the effects of cadmium on gymnosperm pollen germination and tube growth and the mechanism of this involvement are still unclear. Here, we report that cadmium not only strongly inhibited P. wilsonii pollen germination and tube growth, but also significantly altered tube morphology in a dose-dependent manner. Time-lapse images obtained with a laser scanning confocal microscope revealed that endocytosis was dramatically inhibited by cadmium stress. Further investigation with ER-Tracker dye indicated that cadmium stress reduced the number of the Golgi apparatus, and induced dilation of ER. Additionally, Lyso-Tracker staining showed that cadmium distinctly promoted the formation of acidic organelles in pollen tubes, likely derived from the dilated ER. Taken together, our studies indicated that P. wilsonii pollens were highly susceptible to cadmium stress, and that cadmium stress strongly inhibited pollen germination and tube growth by disrupting the endomembrane organelles, inhibiting endo/exocytosis, and forming acidic vacuoles, resulting in swollen tube tips and irregularly broadened tube diameters. These findings provide a new insight into the effects of cadmium toxicity on the tip growth of pollen tubes.
PMCID: PMC3983259  PMID: 24722362
2.  Cadmium exposure and nephropathy in a 28-year-old female metals worker. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2002;110(12):1261-1266.
A 28-year-old female presented for evaluation of left flank pain and polyuria after having been exposed to cadmium in the jewelry manufacturing industry for approximately 3 years. This patient possessed both elevated 24-hr urinary ss2-microglobulin and elevated blood cadmium levels. Approximately 6 months after initial presentation, the patient resigned from her job due to shortness of breath, chest pain, and anxiety. Exposure to cadmium in the jewelry industry is a significant source of occupational cadmium exposure. Other occupational sources include the manufacture of nickel-cadmium batteries, metal plating, zinc and lead refining, smelting of cadmium and lead, and production of plastics. Cadmium is also an environmental pollutant that accumulates in leafy vegetables and plants, including tobacco. Major toxicities anticipated from cadmium exposure involve the renal, pulmonary, and, to a lesser extent, gastrointestinal systems. These include the development of renal proximal tubular dysfunction, glomerular damage with progressive renal disease, and respiratory symptoms including pneumonitis and emphysema. Low-level cadmium exposure has also been associated with increased urinary calcium excretion and direct bone toxicity, effects that recent research suggests may result in the development of osteoporosis. The body burden of cadmium, over half of which may reside in the kidneys, is most often measured through the use of urinary cadmium levels. Blood cadmium measurements generally reflect current or recent exposure and are especially useful in cases with a short exposure period and only minimal accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys. Both ss2-microglobulin and alpha1-microglobulin serve as organ-specific, early-effect biomarkers of tubular proteinuria and thus play a role in identifying early signs of cadmium-induced renal damage in those with potential exposures. In addition to ensuring workplace compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration-mandated monitoring and screening measures, it is prudent for those with cadmium exposure to maintain adequate intake of both iron and calcium, appropriate measures even in the absence of exposure.
PMCID: PMC1241115  PMID: 12460807
3.  A Genome-Wide Screen of Genes Involved in Cadmium Tolerance in Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
Toxicological Sciences  2008;106(1):124-139.
Cadmium is a worldwide environmental toxicant responsible for a range of human diseases including cancer. Cellular injury from cadmium is minimized by stress-responsive detoxification mechanisms. We explored the genetic requirements for cadmium tolerance by individually screening mutants from the fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) haploid deletion collection for inhibited growth on agar growth media containing cadmium. Cadmium-sensitive mutants were further tested for sensitivity to oxidative stress (hydrogen peroxide) and osmotic stress (potassium chloride). Of 2649 mutants screened, 237 were sensitive to cadmium, of which 168 were cadmium specific. Most were previously unknown to be involved in cadmium tolerance. The 237 genes represent a number of pathways including sulfate assimilation, phytochelatin synthesis and transport, ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10) biosynthesis, stress signaling, cell wall biosynthesis and cell morphology, gene expression and chromatin remodeling, vacuole function, and intracellular transport of macromolecules. The ubiquinone biosynthesis mutants are acutely sensitive to cadmium but only mildly sensitive to hydrogen peroxide, indicating that Coenzyme Q10 plays a larger role in cadmium tolerance than just as an antioxidant. These and several other mutants turn yellow when exposed to cadmium, suggesting cadmium sulfide accumulation. This phenotype can potentially be used as a biomarker for cadmium. There is remarkably little overlap with a comparable screen of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae haploid deletion collection, indicating that the two distantly related yeasts utilize significantly different strategies for coping with cadmium stress. These strategies and their relation to cadmium detoxification in humans are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2563147  PMID: 18684775
cadmium; Schizosaccharomyces pombe; gene deletion; sulfur; stress; ubiquinone
4.  Exposure to Cadmium Elevates Expression of Genes in the OxyR and OhrR Regulons and Induces Cross-Resistance to Peroxide Killing Treatment in Xanthomonas campestris 
Cadmium is an important heavy metal pollutant. For this study, we investigated the effects of cadmium exposure on the oxidative stress responses of Xanthomonas campestris, a soil and plant pathogenic bacterium. The exposure of X. campestris to low concentrations of cadmium induces cross-protection against subsequent killing treatments with either H2O2 or the organic hydroperoxide tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBOOH), but not against the superoxide generator menadione. The cadmium-induced resistance to peroxides is due to the metal's ability to induce increased levels of peroxide stress protective enzymes such as alkyl hydroperoxide reductase (AhpC), monofunctional catalase (KatA), and organic hydroperoxide resistance protein (Ohr). Cadmium-induced resistance to H2O2 is dependent on functional OxyR, a peroxide-sensing transcription regulator. Cadmium-induced resistance to tBOOH shows a more complex regulatory pattern. The inactivation of the two major sensor-regulators of organic hydroperoxide, OxyR and OhrR, only partially inhibited cadmium-induced protection against tBOOH, suggesting that these genes do have some role in the process. However, other, as yet unknown mechanisms are involved in inducible organic hydroperoxide protection. Furthermore, we show that the cadmium-induced peroxide stress response is mediated by the metal's ability to predominately cause an increase in intracellular concentrations of organic hydroperoxide and, in part, H2O2. Analyses of various mutants of peroxide-metabolizing enzymes suggested that this increase in organic hydroperoxide levels is, at least in part, responsible for cadmium toxicity in Xanthomonas.
PMCID: PMC1082542  PMID: 15812010
5.  Oxidative Stress in Lead and Cadmium Toxicity and Its Amelioration 
Oxidative stress has been implicated to play a role, at least in part, in pathogenesis of many disease conditions and toxicities in animals. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species and free radicals beyond the cells intrinsic capacity to neutralize following xenobiotics exposure leads to a state of oxidative stress and resultant damages of lipids, protein, and DNA. Lead and cadmium are the common environmental heavy metal pollutants and have widespread distribution. Both natural and anthropogenic sources including mining, smelting, and other industrial processes are responsible for human and animal exposure. These pollutants, many a times, are copollutants leading to concurrent exposure to living beings and resultant synergistic deleterious health effects. Several mechanisms have been explained for the damaging effects on the body system. Of late, oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of the lead- and cadmium-induced pathotoxicity. Several ameliorative measures to counteract the oxidative damage to the body system aftermath or during exposure to these toxicants have been assessed with the use of antioxidants. The present review focuses on mechanism of lead- and cadmium-induced oxidate damages and the ameliorative measures to counteract the oxidative damage and pathotoxicity with the use of supplemented antioxidants for their beneficial effects.
PMCID: PMC3087445  PMID: 21547215
6.  Chronic Cadmium Treatment Promotes Oxidative Stress and Endothelial Damage in Isolated Rat Aorta 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68418.
Cadmium is a highly toxic metal that is present in phosphate fertilizers, and the incidence of cadmium poisoning in the general population has increased, mainly due to cigarette smoking. Once absorbed, cadmium accumulates in the tissues, causing harmful effects including high blood pressure, endothelial damage and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is known to efficiently produce oxidized low-density lipoprotein and consequently atherosclerosis, mainly in the aorta. However, the mechanisms through which endothelial damage is induced by cadmium have not been elucidated. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of this metal in the isolated aorta and the possible role of oxidative stress. Rats received 100 mg.L−1 cadmium chloride (CdCl2) in the drinking water or distilled water alone for four weeks. The pressor effect of cadmium was followed throughout the exposure period by tail plethysmography. At the end of the fourth week, the blood cadmium content was established, and the vascular reactivity of the isolated aorta to phenylephrine, acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside was analyzed in the context of endothelium denudation and incubation with L-NAME, apocynin, losartan, enalapril, superoxide dismutase (SOD) or catalase. We observed an increased response to phenylephrine in cadmium-treated rats. This increase was abolished by catalase and SOD incubation. Apocynin treatment reduced the phenylephrine response in both treatment groups, but its effect was greater in cadmium-treated rats, and NOX2 expression was greater in the cadmium group. These results suggested that cadmium in blood concentrations similar to those found in occupationally exposed populations is able to stimulate NOX2 expression, contributing to oxidative stress and reducing NO bioavailability, despite enhanced eNOS expression. These findings suggest that cadmium exposure promotes endothelial damage that might contribute to inflammation, vascular injury and the development of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3709967  PMID: 23874620
7.  Cadmium Induces p53-Dependent Apoptosis in Human Prostate Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33647.
Cadmium, a widespread toxic pollutant of occupational and environmental concern, is a known human carcinogen. The prostate is a potential target for cadmium carcinogenesis, although the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Furthermore, cadmium may induce cell death by apoptosis in various cell types, and it has been hypothesized that a key factor in cadmium-induced malignant transformation is acquisition of apoptotic resistance. We investigated the in vitro effects produced by cadmium exposure in normal or tumor cells derived from human prostate epithelium, including RWPE-1 and its cadmium-transformed derivative CTPE, the primary adenocarcinoma 22Rv1 and CWR-R1 cells and LNCaP, PC-3 and DU145 metastatic cancer cell lines. Cells were treated for 24 hours with different concentrations of CdCl2 and apoptosis, cell cycle distribution and expression of tumor suppressor proteins were analyzed. Subsequently, cellular response to cadmium was evaluated after siRNA-mediated p53 silencing in wild type p53-expressing RWPE-1 and LNCaP cells, and after adenoviral p53 overexpression in p53-deficient DU145 and PC-3 cell lines. The cell lines exhibited different sensitivity to cadmium, and 24-hour exposure to different CdCl2 concentrations induced dose- and cell type-dependent apoptotic response and inhibition of cell proliferation that correlated with accumulation of functional p53 and overexpression of p21 in wild type p53-expressing cell lines. On the other hand, p53 silencing was able to suppress cadmium-induced apoptosis. Our results demonstrate that cadmium can induce p53-dependent apoptosis in human prostate epithelial cells and suggest p53 mutation as a possible contributing factor for the acquisition of apoptotic resistance in cadmium prostatic carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3308998  PMID: 22448262
8.  Population Toxicokinetic Modeling of Cadmium for Health Risk Assessment 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(8):1293-1301.
Cadmium is a widespread environmental pollutant that has been shown to exert toxic effects on kidney and bones in humans after long-term exposure. Urinary cadmium concentration is considered a good biomarker of accumulated cadmium in kidney, and diet is the main source of cadmium among nonsmokers.
Modeling the link between urinary cadmium and dietary cadmium intake is a key step in the risk assessment of long-term cadmium exposure. There is, however, little knowledge on how this link may vary, especially for susceptible population strata.
We used a large population-based study (the Swedish Mammography Cohort), with repeated dietary intake data covering a period of 20 years, to compare estimated dietary cadmium intake with urinary cadmium concentrations on an individual basis. A modified version of the Nordberg-Kjellström model and a one-compartment model were evaluated in terms of their predictions of urinary cadmium. We integrated the models and quantified the between-person variability of cadmium half-life in the population. Finally, sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulations were performed to illustrate how the latter model could serve as a robust tool supporting the risk assessment of cadmium in humans.
The one-compartment population model appeared to be an adequate modeling option to link cadmium intake to urinary cadmium and to describe the population variability. We estimated the cadmium half-life to be about 11.6 years, with about 25% population variability.
Population toxicokinetic models can be robust and useful tools for risk assessment of chemicals, because they allow quantification and integration of population variability in toxicokinetics.
PMCID: PMC2721875  PMID: 19672411
alternative model development; Bayesian inference; cadmium toxicokinetics; population variability; risk assessment; toxicokinetic models; urinary cadmium
9.  Exposure to Nickel, Chromium, or Cadmium Causes Distinct Changes in the Gene Expression Patterns of a Rat Liver Derived Cell Line 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27730.
Many heavy metals, including nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), and chromium (Cr) are toxic industrial chemicals with an exposure risk in both occupational and environmental settings that may cause harmful outcomes. While these substances are known to produce adverse health effects leading to disease or health problems, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. To elucidate the processes involved in the toxicity of nickel, cadmium, and chromium at the molecular level and to perform a comparative analysis, H4-II-E-C3 rat liver-derived cell lines were treated with soluble salts of each metal using concentrations derived from viability assays, and gene expression patterns were determined with DNA microarrays. We identified both common and unique biological responses to exposure to the three metals. Nickel, cadmium, chromium all induced oxidative stress with both similar and unique genes and pathways responding to this stress. Although all three metals are known to be genotoxic, evidence for DNA damage in our study only exists in response to chromium. Nickel induced a hypoxic response as well as inducing genes involved in chromatin structure, perhaps by replacing iron in key proteins. Cadmium distinctly perturbed genes related to endoplasmic reticulum stress and invoked the unfolded protein response leading to apoptosis. With these studies, we have completed the first gene expression comparative analysis of nickel, cadmium, and chromium in H4-II-E-C3 cells.
PMCID: PMC3218028  PMID: 22110744
10.  Graded Associations of Blood Lead and Urinary Cadmium Concentrations with Oxidative-Stress–Related Markers in the U.S. Population: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;114(3):350-354.
Although oxidative stress has been proposed as a mechanism of lead and cadmium toxicity mostly based on in vitro experiments or animal studies, it is uncertain whether this mechanism is relevant in the pathogenesis of lead- or cadmium-related diseases in the general population with low environmental exposure to lead and cadmium. We examined associations of blood lead and urinary cadmium levels with oxidative stress markers of serum γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT), vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin E among 10,098 adult participants in the third U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After adjusting for race, sex, and age (plus serum total cholesterol in the case of serum carotenoids and vitamin E), blood lead and urinary cadmium levels both showed graded associations, positive with serum GGT and inverse with serum vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin E (p for trend < 0.01, respectively). These associations were consistently observed among most subgroups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, men, women, all age groups, non-drinkers, drinkers, nonsmokers, ex-smokers, current smokers, and body mass index (< 25, 25–29.9, and ≥30). The strong association of blood lead and urinary cadmium levels with oxidative stress markers in this population suggests that oxidative stress should be considered in the pathogenesis of lead- and cadmium-related diseases even among people with low environmental exposure to lead and cadmium.
PMCID: PMC1392227  PMID: 16507456
cadmium; carotenoid; γ-glutamyltransferase; lead; oxidative stress; vitamin C; vitamin E
11.  Effect of heavy metals on germination of seeds 
With the expansion of the world population, the environmental pollution and toxicity by chemicals raises concern. Rapid industrialization and urbanization processes has led to the incorporation of pollutants such as pesticides, petroleum products, acids and heavy metals in the natural resources like soil, water and air thus degrading not only the quality of the environment, but also affecting both plants and animals. Heavy metals including lead, nickel, cadmium, copper, cobalt, chromium and mercury are important environmental pollutants that cause toxic effects to plants; thus, lessening productivity and posing dangerous threats to the agro-ecosystems. They act as stress to plants and affect the plant physiology. In this review, we have summarized the effects of heavy metals on seeds of different plants affecting the germination process. Although reports exist on mechanisms by which the heavy metals act as stress and how plants have learnt to overcome, the future scope of this review remains in excavating the signaling mechanisms in germinating seeds in response to heavy metal stress.
PMCID: PMC3783763  PMID: 24082715
Germination; heavy metals; stress; seed
12.  Cadmium induces autophagy through ROS-dependent activation of the LKB1-AMPK signaling in skin epidermal cells 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2011;255(3):287-296.
Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal which is environmentally and occupationally relevant. The mechanisms underlying cadmium-induced autophagy are not yet completely understood. The present study shows that cadmium induces autophagy, as demonstrated by the increase of LC3-II formation and the GFP-LC3 puncta cells. The induction of autophagosomes was directly visualized by electron microscopy in cadmium-exposed skin epidermal cells. Blockage of LKB1 or AMPK by siRNA transfection suppressed cadmium-induced autophagy. Cadmium-induced autophagy was inhibited in dominant-negative AMPK-transfected cells, whereas it was accelerated in cells transfected with the constitutively active form of AMPK. mTOR signaling, a negative regulator of autophagy, was downregulated in cadmium-exposed cells. In addition, cadmium generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) at relatively low levels, and caused poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP) activation and ATP depletion. Inhibition of PARP by pharmacological inhibitors or its siRNA transfection suppressed ATP reduction and autophagy in cadmium-exposed cells. Furthermore, cadmium-induced autophagy signaling was attenuated by either exogenous addition of catalase and superoxide dismutase, or by overexpression of these enzymes. Consequently, these results suggest that cadmium-mediated ROS generation causes PARP activation and energy depletion, and eventually induces autophagy through the activation of LKB1-AMPK signaling and the down-regulation of mTOR in skin epidermal cells.
PMCID: PMC3439510  PMID: 21767558
Cadmium; Autophagy; LKB1; AMPK; mTOR; ROS
13.  A common response to common danger? Comparison of animal and plant signaling pathways involved in cadmium sensing 
Exposure to cadmium results in disturbances in cell homeostasis in all living organisms. The first response to stress factors, including cadmium, is activation of signal transduction pathways that mobilize cell defense mechanisms. The aim of this review is a comparison between the signaling network triggered by Cd in plants and animals. Despite differences in the structure and physiology of plant and animal cells, their cadmium signal transduction pathways share many common elements. These elements include signaling molecules such as ROS, Ca2+ and NO, the involvement of phospholipase C, mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades, and activation of transcription factors. Undoubtedly, both animals and plants also possess specific signaling pathways. In case of animals, Wnt/β-catenin, sonic hedgehog and oestorgen signaling are engaged in the transduction of cadmium signal. Plant specific signal transduction pathways include signaling mediated by plant hormones. The role of ethylene and jasmonic, salicylic and abscisic acid in plant response to cadmium is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3497896  PMID: 22865263
Calcium ions; Cadmium; Nitric oxide; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; Reactive oxygen species; Transcription factors
14.  Genome-Wide Association Studies Identify Heavy Metal ATPase3 as the Primary Determinant of Natural Variation in Leaf Cadmium in Arabidopsis thaliana 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(9):e1002923.
Understanding the mechanism of cadmium (Cd) accumulation in plants is important to help reduce its potential toxicity to both plants and humans through dietary and environmental exposure. Here, we report on a study to uncover the genetic basis underlying natural variation in Cd accumulation in a world-wide collection of 349 wild collected Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. We identified a 4-fold variation (0.5–2 µg Cd g−1 dry weight) in leaf Cd accumulation when these accessions were grown in a controlled common garden. By combining genome-wide association mapping, linkage mapping in an experimental F2 population, and transgenic complementation, we reveal that HMA3 is the sole major locus responsible for the variation in leaf Cd accumulation we observe in this diverse population of A. thaliana accessions. Analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence of HMA3 from 149 A. thaliana accessions reveals the existence of 10 major natural protein haplotypes. Association of these haplotypes with leaf Cd accumulation and genetics complementation experiments indicate that 5 of these haplotypes are active and 5 are inactive, and that elevated leaf Cd accumulation is associated with the reduced function of HMA3 caused by a nonsense mutation and polymorphisms that change two specific amino acids.
Author Summary
Cadmium (Cd) is a potentially toxic metal pollutant that threatens food quality and human health in many regions of the world. Plants have evolved mechanisms for the acquisition of essential metals such as zinc and iron from the soil. Though often quite specific, such mechanisms can also lead to the accumulation of Cd by plants. Understanding natural variation in the processes that contribute to Cd accumulation in food crops could help minimize the human health risk posed. We have discovered that DNA sequence changes at a single gene, which encodes the Heavy Metal ATPase 3 (HMA3), drives the variation in Cd accumulation we observe in a world-wide sample of Arabidopsis thaliana. We identified 10 major HMA3 protein variants, of which five contribute to reduce Cd accumulation in leaves of A. thaliana.
PMCID: PMC3435251  PMID: 22969436
15.  Elevated GSH level increases cadmium resistance through downregulation of Sp1-dependent expression of the cadmium transporter ZIP8 
Molecular pharmacology  2008;74(3):823-833.
Cadmium is a non-essential toxic metal in mammals. Its toxicity is mainly caused by interactions with cellular proteins that result in protein dysfunction and the disturb normal cellular functions. Glutathione (GSH) has been reported to play a role in cadmium resistance by serving as a cofactor for MRP1/GS-X pump-mediated cadmium elimination. To further investigate the role of GSH in cadmium toxicity, we carried out comparative study using small cell lung cancer derived cell lines, SR3A, and those that were stably transfected with glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC), a rate limiting enzyme in GSH biosynthesis. These GCLC-stably transfected cell lines produced higher levels of GSH and were more resistant to cadmium toxicity than the parental cell line was. The rates of cadmium uptake were reduced in these GCLC-transfected cell lines, which were associated with down regulation of the cadmium transporter ZIP8/SLC39A8. Further analyses demonstrated that Sp1 binding site at the proximal promoter region of ZIP8 was sensitive to the GSH level, and that the expression level of transcription factor Sp1 was reduced by increased GSH levels. We also demonstrated that low concentrations of cadmium exposure downregulated ZIP8 expression with concomitant reduction of Sp1 expression. Taken together, these results demonstrate the importance of Sp1 in the regulation of ZIP8 expression. More important, our results reveal a new mechanism by which elevated GSH levels confer cadmium resistance by downregulation of ZIP8 expression through the suppression of Sp1.
PMCID: PMC2574563  PMID: 18556457
16.  Effect of Herbal Preparation on Heavy Metal (Cadmium) Induced Antioxidant System in Female Wistar Rats 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2011;8(2):101-107.
Cadmium is one of the elements found to damage antioxidant systems in mammals. To ameliorate cadmium toxicity and to prevent oxidative stress, natural products may be useful. In Indian ethnobotanical practice, a mixture of 17 herbal products is used to fortify the reproductive system of women after parturition and to reverse ovarian oxidative stress. Oral administration of this extract to rats exposed to cadmium was useful in reversing oxidative stress. Two different doses of cadmium (50 ppm and 200 ppm) were given to Wistar rats aged 45 and 65 days. An herbal extract derived from 17 plants was administered orally every day at a dose level of 200 mg/kg of body weight to the rats exposed to cadmium. A battery of enzymes involved in antioxidant activity in the ovary, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione-s-transferase (GST) were measured in the control, cadmium-exposed rats without treatment and in the cadmium-exposed rats treated with herbal extract. The reduction in SOD, catalase, GPx and GST activity after cadmium exposure improved significantly in the rats treated with the herbal extract (p < 0.05). The decrease of antioxidant enzymes due to cadmium exposure was reversed significantly with herbal extract administration. The synergistic effect of each bioactive compound in different herbal extracts requires further study.
PMCID: PMC3550239  PMID: 22090148
Medicinal plant extract; Cadmium; Superoxide dismutase (SOD); Catalase (CAT); Glutathione peroxidase (GPx); Glutathione-s-transferase (GST); Ovary
17.  The Combined Toxic and Genotoxic Effects of Cd and As to Plant Bioindicator Trifolium repens L 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99239.
This study was undertaken to investigate combined toxic and genotoxic effects of cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) on white clover, a pollutant sensitive plant frequently used as environmental bioindicator. Plants were exposed to soil spiked with increasing concentrations of cadmium sulfate (20, 40 and 60 mg Kg−1) or sodium arsenite (5, 10 and 20 mg Kg−1) as well as with their combinations. Metal(loid) bioavailability was assessed after soil contamination, whereas plant growth, metal(loid) concentration in plant organs and DNA damage were measured at the end of plant exposition. Results showed that individual and joint toxicity and genotoxicity were related to the concentration of Cd and As measured in plant organs, and that As concentration was the most relevant variable. Joint effects on plant growth were additive or synergistic, whereas joint genotoxic effects were additive or antagonistic. The interaction between Cd and As occurred at both soil and plant level. In soil the presence of As limited the bioavailability of Cd, whereas the presence of Cd increased the bioavailability of As. Nevertheless only As biovailability determined the amount of As absorbed by plants. The amount of Cd absorbed by plant was not linearly correlated with the fraction of bioavailable Cd in soil suggesting the involvement of additional factors, such as plant uptake mechanisms. These results reveal that the simultaneous presence in soil of Cd and As, although producing an additive or synergistic toxic effect on Trifolium repens L. growth, generates a lower DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC4051651  PMID: 24914541
18.  Low-Level Environmental Cadmium Exposure Is Associated with DNA Hypomethylation in Argentinean Women 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(6):879-884.
Background: Cadmium, a common food pollutant, alters DNA methylation in vitro. Epigenetic effects might therefore partly explain cadmium’s toxicity, including its carcinogenicity; however, human data on epigenetic effects are lacking.
Objective: We evaluated the effects of dietary cadmium exposure on DNA methylation, considering other environmental exposures, genetic predisposition, and gene expression.
Methods: Concentrations of cadmium, arsenic, selenium, and zinc in blood and urine of nonsmoking women (n = 202) from the northern Argentinean Andes were measured by inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Methylation in CpG islands of LINE-1 (long interspersed nuclear element-1; a proxy for global DNA methylation) and promoter regions of p16 [cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A)] and MLH1 (mutL homolog 1) in peripheral blood were measured by bisulfite polymerase chain reaction pyrosequencing. Genotyping (n = 172) for the DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 1 gene (DNMT1 rs10854076 and rs2228611) and DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 3 beta gene (DNMT3B rs2424913 and rs2424932) was performed with Sequenom iPLEX GOLD SNP genotyping; and gene expression (n = 90), with DirectHyb HumanHT-12 (version 3.0).
Results: Cadmium exposure was low: median concentrations in blood and urine were 0.36 and 0.23 µg/L, respectively. Urinary cadmium (natural log transformed) was inversely associated with LINE-1 methylation (β = –0.50, p = 0.0070; β = –0.44, p = 0.026, adjusted for age and coca chewing) but not with p16 or MLH1 methylation. Both DNMT1 rs10854076 and DNMT1 rs2228611 polymorphisms modified associations between urinary cadmium and LINE-1 (p-values for interaction in adjusted models were 0.045 and 0.064, respectively). The rare genotypes demonstrated stronger hypomethylation with increasing urinary cadmium concentrations. Cadmium was inversely associated with DNMT3B (rS = –0.28, p = 0.0086) but not with DNMT1 expression (rS = –0.075, p = 0.48).
Conclusion: Environmental cadmium exposure was associated with DNA hypomethylation in peripheral blood, and DNMT1 genotypes modified this association. The role of epigenetic modifications in cadmium-associated diseases needs clarification.
PMCID: PMC3385444  PMID: 22382075
cadmium; DNMT1; DNMT3B; epigenetic; genotype; LINE-1; MLH1; p16; pyrosequencing
19.  Relation between dietary cadmium intake and biomarkers of cadmium exposure in premenopausal women accounting for body iron stores 
Environmental Health  2011;10:105.
Cadmium is a widespread environmental pollutant with adverse effects on kidneys and bone, but with insufficiently elucidated public health consequences such as risk of end-stage renal diseases, fractures and cancer. Urinary cadmium is considered a valid biomarker of lifetime kidney accumulation from overall cadmium exposure and thus used in the assessment of cadmium-induced health effects. We aimed to assess the relationship between dietary cadmium intake assessed by analyses of duplicate food portions and cadmium concentrations in urine and blood, taking the toxicokinetics of cadmium into consideration.
In a sample of 57 non-smoking Swedish women aged 20-50 years, we assessed Pearson's correlation coefficients between: 1) Dietary intake of cadmium assessed by analyses of cadmium in duplicate food portions collected during four consecutive days and cadmium concentrations in urine, 2) Partial correlations between the duplicate food portions and urinary and blood cadmium concentrations, respectively, and 3) Model-predicted urinary cadmium concentration predicted from the dietary intake using a one-compartment toxicokinetic model (with individual data on age, weight and gastrointestinal cadmium absorption) and urinary cadmium concentration.
The mean concentration of cadmium in urine was 0.18 (+/- s.d.0.12) μg/g creatinine and the model-predicted urinary cadmium concentration was 0.19 (+/- s.d.0.15) μg/g creatinine. The partial Pearson correlations between analyzed dietary cadmium intake and urinary cadmium or blood concentrations were r = 0.43 and 0.42, respectively. The correlation between diet and urinary cadmium increased to r = 0.54 when using a one-compartment model with individual gastrointestinal cadmium absorption coefficients based on the women's iron status.
Our results indicate that measured dietary cadmium intake can reasonably well predict biomarkers of both long-term kidney accumulation (urine) and short-term exposure (blood). The predictions are improved when taking data on the iron status into account.
PMCID: PMC3265442  PMID: 22177271
Cadmium; diet; biomarkers; gastrointestinal absorption; one-compartment model
20.  Engineering Plant-Microbe Symbiosis for Rhizoremediation of Heavy Metals 
The use of plants for rehabilitation of heavy-metal-contaminated environments is an emerging area of interest because it provides an ecologically sound and safe method for restoration and remediation. Although a number of plant species are capable of hyperaccumulation of heavy metals, the technology is not applicable for remediating sites with multiple contaminants. A clever solution is to combine the advantages of microbe-plant symbiosis within the plant rhizosphere into an effective cleanup technology. We demonstrated that expression of a metal-binding peptide (EC20) in a rhizobacterium, Pseudomonas putida 06909, not only improved cadmium binding but also alleviated the cellular toxicity of cadmium. More importantly, inoculation of sunflower roots with the engineered rhizobacterium resulted in a marked decrease in cadmium phytotoxicity and a 40% increase in cadmium accumulation in the plant root. Owing to the significantly improved growth characteristics of both the rhizobacterium and plant, the use of EC20-expressing P. putida endowed with organic-degrading capabilities may be a promising strategy to remediate mixed organic-metal-contaminated sites.
PMCID: PMC1392951  PMID: 16461658
21.  Genome-wide transcription profiles reveal genotype-dependent responses of biological pathways and gene-families in Daphnia exposed to single and mixed stressors 
Environmental science & technology  2014;48(6):3513-3522.
The present study investigated the possibilities and limitations of implementing a genome-wide transcription-based approach that takes into account genetic and environmental variation to better understand the response of natural populations to stressors. When exposing two different Daphnia pulex genotypes (a cadmium sensitive and a cadmium tolerant one) to cadmium, the toxic cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa and their mixture, we found that observations at the transcriptomic level do not always explain observations at a higher level (growth, reproduction). For example, although cadmium elicited an adverse effect at the organismal level, almost no genes were differentially expressed after cadmium exposure. In addition, we identified oxidative stress and poly-unsaturated fatty acid metabolism-related pathways, as well as trypsin and neurexin IV gene-families as candidates for the underlying causes of genotypic differences in tolerance to Microcystis. Furthermore, the whole-genome transcriptomic data of a stressor mixture allowed a better understanding of mixture responses by evaluating interactions between two stressors at the gene-expression level against the independent action baseline model. This approach has indicated that ubiquinone pathway and the MAPK serine-threonine protein kinase and collagens gene-families were enriched with genes showing an interactive effect in expression response to exposure to the mixture of the stressors, while transcription and translation-related pathways and gene-families were mostly related with genotypic differences in interactive responses to this mixture. Collectively, our results indicate that the methods we employed may improve further characterization of the possibilities and limitations of transcriptomics approaches in the adverse outcome pathway framework and in predictions of multi-stressor effects on natural populations.
PMCID: PMC3983318  PMID: 24552364
22.  Gene expression responses in Suaeda salsa after cadmium exposure 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:232.
Coastal line is now polluted by many kinds of sewage including heavy metals discharged by intensive human activities. Cadmium is a nonessential heavy metal for organisms and can cause many kinds of adverse effect on the organisms. Suaeda salsa, a pioneer halophyte in intertidal zone of the Bohai coast, was proved to have cadmium-tolerant capacity. Given that, S. salsa was suggested as a potential coastal bio-indicator plant for cadmium contamination in the intertidal zone. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the responsive mechanism of S. salsa to cadmium since few studies focus on this subject till now. In the present study, six genes were selected to investigate the variation profiles of mRNA expression by fluorescent real-time quantitative PCR, including those involved in myo-inositol synthesis, redox reaction, salt-tolerant reaction. Results showed that cadmium exposure significantly modulate the mRNA expressions of MIPS, Nhx1, CAT2, GST, Prx Q genes. It suggested that cadmium exposure exerted an oxidative stress on S. salsa, disturbed Na+ homeostasis across membranes and interfered with the metabolism of inositol. In addition, CAT2 gene could be used as a gene marker in S. salsa to indicate cadmium pollution.
PMCID: PMC3678022  PMID: 23766960
Suaeda salsa; qRT-PCR; Gene expression; Cadmium
23.  Biosensors Paving the Way to Understanding the Interaction between Cadmium and the Estrogen Receptor Alpha 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23048.
Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal ubiquitously present in the environment and subsequently in the human diet. Cadmium has been proposed to disrupt the endocrine system, targeting in particular the estrogen signaling pathway already at environmentally relevant concentrations. Thus far, the reports on the binding affinity of cadmium towards human estrogen receptor alpha (hERα) have been contradicting, as have been the reports on the in vivo estrogenicity of cadmium. Hence, the mode of interaction between cadmium and the receptor remains unclear. Here, we investigated the interaction between cadmium and hERα on a molecular level by applying a novel, label-free biosensor technique based on reflectometric interference spectroscopy (RIfS). We studied the binding of cadmium to hERα, and the conformation of the receptor following cadmium treatment. Our data reveals that cadmium interacts with the ligand binding domain (LBD) of the ERα and affects the conformation of the receptor. However, the binding event, as well as the induced conformation change, greatly depends on the accessibility of the cysteine tails in the LBD. As the LBD cysteine residues have been reported as targets of post-translational modifications in vivo, we present a hypothesis according to which different cellular pools of ERα respond to cadmium differently. Our proposed theory could help to explain some of the previously contradicting results regarding estrogen-like activity of cadmium.
PMCID: PMC3149063  PMID: 21829690
24.  Long-distance transport, vacuolar sequestration and transcriptional responses induced by cadmium and arsenic 
Current opinion in plant biology  2011;14(5):554-562.
Iron, zinc, copper and manganese are essential metals for cellular enzyme functions while cadmium, mercury and the metalloid arsenic lack any biological function. Both, essential and non-essential metals and metalloids are extremely reactive and toxic. Therefore, plants have acquired specialized mechanisms to sense, transport and maintain essential metals within physiological concentrations and to detoxify non-essential metals and metalloids. This review focuses on the recent identification of transporters that sequester cadmium and arsenic in vacuoles and the mechanisms mediating the partitioning of these metal(loid)s between roots and shoots. We further discuss recent models of phloem-mediated long-distance transport, seed accumulation of Cd and As and recent data demonstrating that plants posses a defined transcriptional response that allow plants to preserve metal homeostasis. This research is instrumental for future engineering of reduced toxic metal(loid) accumulation in edible crop tissues as well as for improved phytoremediation technologies.
PMCID: PMC3191310  PMID: 21820943
ABC transporters; Heavy Metal ATPase; transcription factors; phytochelatins; phloem transport; hyperaccumulator plants; phytoremediation
25.  Two-Dimensional Liquid Chromatography Technique Coupled with Mass Spectrometry Analysis to Compare the Proteomic Response to Cadmium Stress in Plants 
Plants are useful in studies of metal toxicity, because their physiological responses to different metals are correlated with the metal exposure dose and chemical state. Moreover a network of proteins and biochemical cascades that may lead to a controlled homeostasis of metals has been identified in many plant species. This paper focuses on the global protein variations that occur in a Populus nigra spp. clone (Poli) that has an exceptional tolerance to the presence of cadmium. Protein separation was based on a two-dimensional liquid chromatography technique. A subset of 20 out of 126 peaks were identified as being regulated differently under cadmium stress and were fingerprinted by MALDI-TOF. Proteins that were more abundant in the treated samples were located in the chloroplast and in the mitochondrion, suggesting the importance of these organelles in the response and adaptation to metal stress.
PMCID: PMC2828102  PMID: 20204056

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