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Metallothionein gene expression in peripheral lymphocytes from cadmium-exposed workers

Cell Stress Society International
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Metallothionein (MT) plays an important role in the detoxification of cadmium.To investigate the usefulness of MT gene expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) as a biomarker of cadmium exposure and susceptibility, reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction was used to measure the MT gene expression in PBLs from cadmium-exposed workers. Both basal and induced MT expressions were found to increase with increased blood cadmium (BCd) and urinary cadmium (UCd) levels. Both basal and induced MT expression levels were significantly correlated with the logarithm of BCd and the logarithm of UCd levels. The dose-response relationship between internal dose of cadmium and MT expression suggested the validity of MT expression in PBLs as a biomarker of cadmium exposure. In vitro induced MT expression level in PBLs was found to be inversely related to the level of renal dysfunction indicator, urinary N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase (UNAG). The latter finding indicates that MT expression in PBLs may be a useful biomarker of susceptibility to renal toxicity of cadmium. (Presented in part at the International Symposium on Metal-Binding Proteins in Biology, Banff, Canada, 1998.)

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