Cadmium-Induced Oxidative Stress Impairs Glycemic Control in Adolescents

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:6341671. doi: 10.1155/2017/6341671. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Experimental evidence suggests that cadmium (Cd) boosts oxidative stress that may result in toxicity on the endocrine system also in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate the glycemic control and oxidative stress markers in male adolescents with increased urinary levels of cadmium. We investigated 111 males, aged 12-14 years, living in a polluted area of Sicily and a control age-matched population (n = 60) living 28-45 km far from the polluted site. Malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant activity (TAC), metallothionein-1A (MT-1A) gene expression, insulin resistance by the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-IR), and urinary cadmium were investigated. Cd levels were significantly higher in adolescents living in the polluted area than in control age-matched subjects. Adolescents with elevated Cd levels had a significant increase in MDA, MT-1A, and HOMA-IR and reduced TAC compared to the control group. A robust correlation was found between urinary cadmium and MT-1A, HOMA-IR, and MDA whereas an inverse correlation was identified between urinary cadmium and TAC. This study indicates that cadmium burden alters glycemic control in adolescents and suggests that oxidative stress plays a key role in cadmium-induced insulin resistance, increasing the risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cadmium / urine*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Glycemic Load
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / urine*
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Cadmium