Urine cadmium levels and albuminuria in a general population from Spain: A gene-environment interaction analysis

Environ Int. 2017 Sep;106:27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 May 27.


Background: The interaction of cadmium with genes involved in oxidative stress, cadmium metabolism and transport pathways on albuminuria can provide biological insight on the relationship between cadmium and albuminuria at low exposure levels.

Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that specific genotypes in candidate genes may confer increased susceptibility to cadmium exposure.

Methods: Cadmium exposure was estimated by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) in urine from 1397 men and women aged 18-85years participating in the Hortega Study, a representative sample of a general population from Spain. Urine albumin was measured by automated nephelometric immunochemistry. Abnormal albuminuria was defined as urine albumin greater than or equal to 30mg/g.

Results: The weighted prevalence of abnormal albuminuria was 6.3%. The median level of urine cadmium was 0.39 (IQR, 0.23-0.65) μg/g creatinine. Multivariable-adjusted geometric mean ratios of albuminuria comparing the two highest to the lowest tertile of urine cadmium were 1.62 (95% CI, 1.43-1.84) and 2.94 (95% CI, 2.58-3.35), respectively. The corresponding odds ratios of abnormal albuminuria were 1.58 (0.83, 3.02) and 4.54 (2.58, 8.00). The association between urine cadmium and albuminuria was observed across all participant subgroups evaluated including participants without hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. We observed Bonferroni-corrected statistically significant interactions between urine cadmium levels and polymorphisms in gene SLC30A7 and RAC1.

Conclusions: Increasing urine cadmium concentrations were cross-sectionally associated with increased albuminuria in a representative sample of a general population from Spain. Genetic variation in oxidative stress and cadmium metabolism and transport genes may confer differential susceptibility to potential cadmium effects.

Keywords: Albuminuria; Gene-environment interaction; Population-based survey; Urine cadmium.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Albuminuria* / epidemiology
  • Albuminuria* / genetics
  • Albuminuria* / urine
  • Cadmium / urine*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / genetics*


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • RAC1 protein, human
  • SLC30A7 protein, human
  • Cadmium
  • Creatinine
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein