The Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Renal Tubular Dysfunction Induced by Cadmium Exposure

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2020 Mar;194(1):58-65. doi: 10.1007/s12011-019-01748-w. Epub 2019 May 27.


Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with the risk of chronic kidney diseases. However, this association has not been reported in populations exposed to cadmium. In the present study, we examined the association between alcohol consumption and renal tubular dysfunction in populations living in cadmium-polluted areas. A total of 446 subjects (170 men and 276 women) were finally included in our analysis. The urinary cadmium (UCd) and cadmium in blood (BCd) were determined as the exposure biomarkers. Urinary N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (UNAG) and β2-microgloblin (UBMG) were measured as renal indicators. Alcohol drinking patterns were obtained from a questionnaire and divided into four categories: non-drinking, light drinking (< 3 drinks/week), moderate drinking (3-7 drinks/week), and heavy drinking (> 7 drinks /week). If UNAG was the indicator of renal dysfunction, the prevalence of renal tubular dysfunction was decreased in subjects with alcohol consumption both in men (χ2 = 8.5, p < 0.01) and women (χ2 = 8.3, p < 0.01). The odds ratio (OR) of subjects with light and moderate alcohol drinking was 0.31 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.1-0.99) and 0.30 (95%CI, 0.1-0.96), respectively, compared with those of non-drinkers after adjusting with the confounders in men. Similar results were observed in women with light drinking (OR = 0.33, 95%CI, 0.15-0.70). Similar trends were observed in those subjects with high BCd (> 3.0 μg/L) or UCd (> 5.0 μg/g creatinine). Our data show that alcohol consumption is inversely associated with cadmium-induced renal tubular dysfunction.

Keywords: Alcohol consumption; Cadmium; Renal dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cadmium / adverse effects*
  • Cadmium / blood
  • Cadmium / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects*
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Biomarkers
  • Cadmium