Association between renal tubular dysfunction and mortality among residents in a cadmium-polluted area, Nagasaki, Japan

Tohoku J Exp Med. 1991 Jun;164(2):93-102. doi: 10.1620/tjem.164.93.


A retrospective cohort study was carried out to clarify the effect of exposure to environmental cadmium (Cd) on mortality. A total of 256 residents aged 50 years or older, living in Sasu, a Cd-polluted area in Tsushima Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, were followed from July 1979 to February 1989. The expected number of deaths calculated was based on the sex- and age- specific mortality rate in Tsushima Island in 1985. In Sasu residents of both sexes with urinary beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2-m) concentration greater than 1,000 microgram/g creatinine in 1979, observed deaths were greater than expected. However, the p value of the difference was less than 0.05 only in men. The relationships of age, mean blood pressure, urinary beta 2-m and urinary Cd concentration to mortality were examined using Cox's proportional hazards model. Urinary beta 2-m was independently and significantly related to mortality in men but not in women. The results suggest an association between Cd-induced renal tubular dysfunction and mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cadmium / urine
  • Cadmium Poisoning / mortality
  • Cadmium Poisoning / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Environmental Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / mortality
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Tubules / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / urine


  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Cadmium
  • Creatinine